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Permanent alimony awards rare in AZ, but can occur

Alimony is only one issue among several that are dealt with in divorce, and it is often handled close to the end of the process. Because of this, it is not always clear how alimony will be decided in divorce cases. What is particularly unpredictable is the length of time for which alimony will be awarded. As a recent TIME article points out, in cases where lifetime alimony is awarded, there are often strong feelings of resentment and injustice.

The opposition to lifetime alimony has prompted discussion about potential reform in the way judges make determinations on the issue. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have abolished permanent or lifetime alimony, at least in most cases. Even in states which have not formally abolished permanent alimony, such awards are becoming increasingly rare. The reasons for this are good ones, and include the fact that the ability to change one's financial situation after divorce, particularly for women, has drastically improved. Still, there are situations where it is still awarded.

Courts in Arizona may award different types of alimony, such rehabilitative, compensatory or permanent. There are a variety of factors that go into determining what type of alimony will be awarded, including how long the alimony will last. These factors include: the length of the marriage; the standard of living during the marriage; the earning potential and financial resources of each party after the marriage; and various other factors.

Because alimony determinations are so unpredictable, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands how these determinations are made and who is able to favorably influence his or her client's case. Working with an experienced attorney is beneficial both for those who are seeking a generous alimony award and those who are looking to minimize the award.

Source: TIME, "When Alimony is Forever," Lili A. Vasileff, September 30, 2014.

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