In this divorce, our law firm was retained after the Wife became dissatisfied with her previous divorce attorney. Wife, a 40-year-old mother of three children, felt she and her attorney were bullied by Husband who leveraged his superior financial resources to control the divorce.
Before we appeared in the case, the parties had reached a Rule 69 agreement to resolve the child custody issues. The parties agreed to a parenting plan and agreed to share joint legal decision-making. The parties were unable to resolve the financial issues, including the division of community property and debt and the issue of spousal maintenance.
During the parties’ marriage, Wife served as a stay-at-home mother. Her extended absence from the labor market limited her opportunities to find employment sufficient to meet her reasonable needs. We argued that this made Wife eligible for spousal maintenance, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-319(A). Separately, we requested reimbursement of Wife’s attorney’s fees due to the disparity between the parties’ financial resources.
Husband’s attorney opposed our claims and argued that Wife should be ordered responsible for an unequal division of the community debt because certain expenditures benefitted only Wife and not the marital community. This claim was ultimately denied.
The attorneys could not reach settlement, so the matter went to trial. After trial, Wife was awarded monthly spousal maintenance for a duration of five years and Husband was ordered to pay all of Wife’s attorney’s fees, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-324(A).