Spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is available in Arizona. Spousal maintenance is an award of money payments from one spouse to the other for a period of time. Spousal Maintenance varies from case to case and Judge to Judge.
A party seeking Spousal Maintenance must first meet the burden listed below, some reason for needing spousal maintenance;
- If the spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs;
- If the spouse is unable to be self-sufficient through reasonable employment;
- If the spouse is the custodian of a child who’s age and condition are cause for the spouse to not be required to seek employment outside of the home;
- If the spouse lacks the earning ability in the labor market to be self sufficient;
- If the spouse contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse; and
- If there was a long term marriage and the spouse is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment that would allow them to be self sufficient
If the Court determines the party seeking spousal maintenance, the factors below are weighed to determine the amount and length of the award;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse who’s being requested for maintenance’s ability to meet their own needs;
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;
- The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse;
- The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;
- The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children;
- The financial resources of the parties seeking maintenance;
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
- Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of property held by both spouses jointly or in community;
- The cost of health care for the party seeking maintenance;
- The actual damages and judgments from conduct that resulted in a criminal conviction where the other spouse or child was a victim.
As is readily apparent, these guidelines are quite broad. As a result, awards of spousal maintenance can be very difficult to predict. Consulting an experienced Family Law Attorney is your best starting point.