Addressing Spousal Maintenance Requests In Arizona Divorces
In Arizona, what most people refer to as “alimony” is known as spousal maintenance. These are payments one spouse makes to the other for a period of time after divorce, not related to children or child support. While spousal maintenance is certainly warranted in certain divorces, there are few people who will willingly agree to pay it. This is one reason that spousal maintenance is often one of the most contested issues in a divorce.
At the Scottsdale divorce law firm Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we know spousal maintenance can be a tough issue. Whether you are entitled to an award or your spouse is seeking an award of spousal maintenance, we can help. This is just one of many complicated aspects of divorce, and our attorneys can handle every aspect of your divorce case. Call today at 480-307-6800 or contact us online to discuss how we may help you.
Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance
Not everyone is entitled to an award of spousal maintenance. Awards of spousal maintenance have shifted from the historical notions to that of a rehabilitative intent. For example, maintenance may be appropriate when one spouse does not have the means to support themselves, and the other spouse has the ability to make payments for support. Or, if one spouse quit working for years to care for children and the household, that spouse may not have the ability to immediately join the workforce and demand an income that will cover all their expenses. The spouse who continuously worked may have to make support payments until the non-working spouse gains the training or education needed to find adequate employment.
Courts will determine whether a spouse is eligible for support by examining different factors, which include but are not limited to:
- Is the spouse unable to be self-sufficient through adequate employment?
- Does the spouse have inadequate financial resources after the property division to cover their reasonable needs?
- Did the spouse contribute to the other spouse’s educational or employment opportunities?
Courts may also consider the current job market, the length of time the spouse was absent from the workforce, whether the spouse has children who are very young or have special needs, and other factors.
If a spouse is eligible for maintenance, the court will base its order on the following, among many other factors:
- The length of marriage;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The comparative earning abilities and resources of each spouse;
- How much one spouse’s sacrifices benefited the other spouse’s success; or
- The earning ability, education levels, and emotional condition of each spouse.
Courts can order temporary maintenance for a certain period of time or, in limited circumstances, a court can order an indefinite award of maintenance.
Spousal maintenance is one of the most contested issue in divorce. Partially because peoples reluctance to agree and partially because of the court’s discretion in awards. As mentioned above, the courts have many factors to examine when determining and award of spousal maintenance. It is commonly said that if you ask ten different judges what they would order for spousal maintenance, you will likely get ten different answers.
If you are considering pursuing an award of spousal maintenance or your spouse is pursuing an award, it is important to meet with an experienced attorney that will give you their straightforward opinion of your case.
Consult with a Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer for More Information
At Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we know that spousal maintenance requests can be costly. We try to find the most efficient solutions in every case while keeping the rights of our clients as our priority. If you’re facing a divorce, please call 480-307-6800 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.