What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony) is a monthly payment from one spouse to another, which is designed to allow for the spouse who earns less income to establish a home and living environment on his/her own. Spousal maintenance is used for an easier transition to becoming a single person in certain circumstances. Spousal maintenance will not last forever; it is designed to help a person get on his/her feet. (A questionnaire and calculation worksheet are included at the end of this chapter).
Factor One: Sufficient Property, Ability to Support Oneself, Educational Support and Marriage of Long Duration
If you answer yes to any of the following, go to Factor Two.
The first threshold question that the court must determine is whether:
- 1. ?A spouse lacks sufficient property to meet his or her reasonable needs
- 2. ?A spouse can?t support him/herself by employment or must stay home with a young child
- 3. ?A spouse supported his or her spouse?s education
- 4.??? The marriage was long and a spouse has little chance of employment
If one of the above threshold questions is yes, then Factor Two is analyzed.
Factor Two: Amount and Duration
If Factor One is met, then the Court considers the following:
- 1. ?Length of the marriage
- 2. ?Each party?s age
- 3. ?Each party?s health
- 4. ?Employment of both parties
- 5. ?The standard of living established during the marriage
- 6. ?The parties? respective resources
- 7. ?A party?s deferment of career opportunities
- 8. ?Assistance in the career opportunities of the other party?
Spousal Maintenance Calculation
In Arizona, there is no statutory formula for calculating spousal maintenance; however, there is an unofficial “guidelines” formula that is used by many attorneys and some judges (see questionnaire, worksheet at the end of this chapter).
Arizona judges have broad discretion in determining whether or not to award spousal maintenance and in determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance awarded. It is best to speak directly with an attorney regarding your specific situation to get an idea of whether spousal maintenance might be awarded in your case.