Arizona Spousal Maintenance Laws

What is Spousal Maintenance?

When you get a divorce, you divide assets between both spouses.  But, what if one spouse depends on the earned income of the other spouse to get by?  What if one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent for years and has trouble getting back into the workforce?  What if one spouse has experienced an injury and can no longer work sufficiently to support themselves? if one spouse earns significantly more money, they may be responsible for spousal maintenance after a divorce.  Spousal maintenance, often called alimony or spousal support, is a recurring payment that must be paid either indefinitely, until a pre-determined date, or until a particular requirement (such as remarriage or cohabitation with a significant other).

Who Gets Spousal Maintenance After a Divorce in Arizona?

Though traditionally spousal maintenance was only paid by the male spouse to the female spouse, that is no longer the case. Alimony can be requested by any spouse during divorce.

What Is Arizona’s Spousal Maintenance Laws?

The Arizona Legislature explains that one or more of these stipulations must be met in order for a spouse to receive alimony in Arizona in AR 25-319.  Essentially, the court will determine whether a spouse lacks sufficient property (including that received in the divorce) to provide for his or her reasonable needs.  Additionally, the court will consider if the individual is able to be self-sufficient through work to meet their reasonable needs (and the needs of the children if applicable).  If the spouse contributed to the education or career opportunities of the spouse from whom they are seeking support.

How Is the Spousal Support Amount Determined in Arizona?

The full complexity of the spousal maintenance law will be considered and then the court will analyze the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the marriage, age of spouses, financial resources of the spouses, contributions to the resources of the other spouse, and more when determining payment.

How Long Will Spousal Maintenance Last?

Today, it is far rarer to see spousal maintenance that is indefinite.  Much more typically, it is seen as an interim tool to provide both parties with the necessary resources to support themselves.  It is important to understand that spousal maintenance can be amended or terminated for a variety of reasons.  First, if the spouse ordered to pay alimony can no-longer afford the payment (due to something like job loss, disability or another factor), they may seek to modify or terminate their payment.  In other circumstances, a spouse may be awarded a particular length of time for spousal maintenance while they seek the education necessary to obtain a job that will be able to support their lifestyle.  And, spousal maintenance may be granted until the spouse remarries and then it will be terminated.  There are many different options and ways to arrange spousal maintenance.  Work closely with your mediator or attorney to determine a spousal maintenance arrangement that is ideal for both spouses.