Breaking news: The state of Arizona recently amended their spousal-support guidelines for divorces filed after September, 2023.
Huh? English, please!
Here you go: The state of Arizona recently created what you might call an “online alimony calculator.”
“Alimony” = “Spousal support (or ‘maintenance’).”
“Guidelines” are just that. Guidelines. Suggestions.
So what is this new online gadget, and, more importantly, what does it mean for you and your pending divorce?
The good news
The good news is that Arizona created this nifty new calculator. It’s one very simple web page; you can look at it here. You input your and your spouse’s income, and some other info (details in a second), and it spits out recommendations for both 1) the monthly dollar amount of spousal maintenance you could receive, and 2) how many months you’ll receive it.
There are two good things about this.
One: Finally, for the first time ever, there’s a common-ground starting point for negotiations between you and your soon-to-be-ex. Both sides use the exact same calculator—kind of like using the Kelly Blue Book site to determine the value of a used car before you try and sell it or trade it in. So, in theory (!), both sides get the exact same numbers from it. (Again, details in a second.)
Two: Unlike the child-support guidelines, these official guidelines from the state have no cap on the dollar amount for each party’s monthly income.
You read that right. I’ll repeat it:
These guidelines have no cap on the monthly dollar amount of income. So if your husband was making beaucoup bucks, and you had the lifestyle to prove it, this calculator will dutifully crank out beaucoup-bucks monthly payments on your behalf, replete with “Low,” “Midpoint,” and “High” suggestions.
Sounds awesome, right?
The bad news
The bad news is that Arizona created this nifty new calculator! Because while it has no cap on the monthly dollar amount, it offers astonishing new limits on the number of months for those monthly payments.
At the top end: 96 months. That’s eight years.
At the bottom end: 12 months. I don’t have to tell you how many years that is.
Now you can immediately see where this will inevitably go. I’ll help you argue for the “High” of those three monthly dollar amounts… and boy will I ever do my best to help you craft a compelling argument for the “96 months” end of the timeframe, because you and I know exactly how many months your spouse’s counsel will be arguing for.
As a CPA, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional, I can help you with this. Which leads to those two sets of details I’d hinted at above:
First set of details: One of the bits of data which this new online calculator asks for is your monthly mortgage payment. Sound reasonable, right? But it only asks for the principal, which is just a portion—often a small portion—of the payment. It neglects interest, taxes, and insurance. This makes negotiation trickier and more complicated.
Second set of details: Will you and your spouse get the exact same numbers out of this calculator? No. You won’t. Because the input will differ. So you need someone like me to help you input the right amounts—and, importantly, to also help you make a plan for your post-divorce financial lifestyle. This is how you’ll move forward, with confidence, into the next phase of your life.
You can do it. I can help. Even despite the state of Arizona’s best-intentioned efforts.
Contact me and let’s get started.