Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
Spousal Maintenance, or alimony, as it is commonly referred to, is one of the most complicated areas of law in Arizona. It is also one of the most important areas to be represented by knowledgeable attorneys such as our family law attorneys. Although the statute, A.R.S. § 25-319, illustrates the general criteria for spousal maintenance, the presentation of a spousal maintenance case is very important. To qualify for an award of spousal maintenance, one of the following must be true:
- Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs.
- Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a childwhose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.
- Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
- Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
If a party qualifies for spousal maintenance, generally, then the Court must examine the following factors to determine the amount and duration 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 from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- 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 party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently.
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
- Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
- The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
- All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.
With so many factors to consider, it is important to properly prepare a spousal maintenance case, to either maximize the award, or minimize it, depending on which side you are on. Rose Law Group Family Law Attorneys will review the factors with you to decide whether you may make a claim for spousal maintenance or whether you may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance.
Additionally, spousal maintenance awards are either modifiable or non-modifiable, depending on if the parties agree to a certain type. This distinction can have significant repercussions to both parties and requires careful analysis of the risks and rewards.
We can help you request spousal maintenance in a new or pending divorce case or we can assist you in seeking a modification of a spousal maintenance order from a divorce which occurred prior. Contact us today.
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