Spousal maintenance is the legal term used in Arizona family law cases, instead of “Alimony,” or “Spousal Support,” as it is commonly referred to in other states. Unlike child support, there is no formula in Arizona to apply to spousal maintenance cases. Although the Maricopa County Superior Court previously adopted a set of “Spousal Maintenance Guidelines” which provided a formula to calculate spousal maintenance, such guidelines were generally only used by judges to see if their own separate determinations were reasonable. The spousal maintenance guidelines were eventually rescinded altogether.
Will I have to pay alimony or spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is dictated by statutes and case law, which provides no direct answer regarding how much spousal maintenance will be ordered or how long such will be ordered. Such answer is within the broad discretion of the court.
Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-319 sets forth the factors by which a judge will determine whether a person is entitled to spousal maintenance, or not.
If the party seeking spousal maintenance is found to be eligible, it is then necessary to determine for how long and how much. The statute does not provide a specific formula, but rather a list of general factors. Such factors include, but are not limited to the following:
Spousal Maintenance Eligibility Criteria
According to A.R.S. §25-319, the party seeking support must meet one or more of the following criteria to be eligible to receive spousal support following a divorce:
- Whether a party can meet their reasonable needs through appropriate employment.
- Whether a party has other property to help them meet their reasonable needs.
- Whether a party is disabled and unable to work.
- Whether a party has young children and should be allowed to stay home or work part time.
- Whether one of the parties contributed to the educational or career opportunities of the other spouse.
- Whether the parties had a long marriage and party seeking support is of an age that may preclude adequate employment.
DETERMINING PAYMENT AMOUNT
How Much & For How Long?
- The standard of living during marriage.
- How long the parties were married.
- The age, employment history, earning ability, physical and emotional condition of the parties.
- Whether the other party can pay spousal maintenance and still meet his or her own reasonable needs.
- Whether one of the parties makes more money or has more property than the other party.
- Whether one of the parties contributed toward the other spouse’s career opportunities.
- Whether one of the parties sacrificed his or her own income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to obtain appropriate employment, and whether this is possible.
- Whether one of the parties wasted or hid community assets or property.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Bishop Law Office will provide you with its opinions regarding spousal maintenance (whether you are entitled to it or whether you may need to pay it) during your consultation. If you have any questions, or if you would like to inquire about our services pertaining to spousal support, please call (602) 749-8500 or visit either of our three Valley locations.