During the proceedings for divorce or legal separation, the court may decide that one party is in need of financial support. This is called spousal maintenance, also referred to as “alimony.” A.R.S. §25-319 delineates the situations for which spousal maintenance is awarded. The court may find need exists if one of the parties separating:
- 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 child whose 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.
These conditions help to decide whether or not to award spousal maintenance. After that is decided there is a longer list of additional factors that help the judge determine the amount of support and the length of time which it is awarded. Considerations are based upon the length standard of living upheld during the marriage, the age and wage earning ability of the spouse seeking maintenance, if a spouse helped further the career or earning ability of the other or reduced their own income in order to aid the other, and the ability of the paying spouse to financially support both parties.
The most common allocation of support is through monthly payments from the higher earning spouse to the other. However, it is not common as it once was to be awarded permanent maintenance. Presently, spousal maintenance is seen as temporary assistance in order to allow a spouse time to find a career or further their education or vocational training.
Because there are so many factors that can affect the distribution of spousal maintenance, it is crucial that you speak to a family law attorney to investigate your eligibility and unique situation. The caring and skilled family law attorneys at Giordano Spanier & Heckele Law Firm are here to help with all of your issues regarding divorce, separation, and spousal maintenance. Call today for a consultation (520) 339-6804 or email [email protected]