Divorce can cause financial hardship even for those and in relatively good financial positions during their marriage. Between the expensive divorce proceedings and the losses suffered when dividing your assets, you could expect a divorce to substantially, if temporarily, diminish your financial situation.
It will be easier for some people to bounce back from a divorce than others. Someone with good family support and a strong career can move on after a divorce and rebuild their lives with little difficulty. Unfortunately, if someone has prioritized their spouse or family over their own career development, they can be in a difficult position when divorce happens.
What options exist for a stay-at-home spouse in an Arizona divorce?
Can a non-working spouse claim some of the property?
One of the first questions a stay-at-home spouse may have is whether they have any right to household assets in the divorce. If they own a home, they may wonder if they can stay. Perhaps their spouse has a retirement account funded over the course of several decades of marriage.
People often worry that if they didn’t make direct financial contributions or if they don’t have their name on an account, that they don’t have any rights. Arizona uses a community property approach to assets. That means that even though you didn’t work, you still have an interest in the property acquired during the marriage.
Your unpaid labor and support around the home likely played a significant role in your spouse’s career success. The courts will divide your community property, including the assets and income from during the marriage, between both of you even if you didn’t perform much paid work during the marriage.
Can you claim spousal maintenance in an Arizona divorce?
It is sometimes possible for a dependent spouse who either left the workforce entirely or put their career on the back burner to request spousal maintenance or alimony in an Arizona divorce.
Typically, such support will be a short-term way to help that spouse acquire job skills or the education necessary to be competitive on the modern employment market. However, in cases where someone cannot work because of health issues or other unique scenarios, the court may order longer-term support.
Understanding your rights as a stay-at-home spouse can empower you to pursue a divorce.