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Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Maintenance

How is spousal maintenance paid?

It can be paid directly from one spouse to the other. Both parties should keep very accurate records of the payments. The court may order the payments to be made through the clearinghouse, administered by the state of Arizona. They keep track of payments for you. Failure to pay is more easily handled in the court if the payments go through the clearinghouse. Be aware that there is a lag time between the time payment is made and the time it is received if you go through the state.

When does spousal maintenance end? (A.R.S. ?25-327)

Spousal maintenance terminates upon the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse. This is called non-modifiable, but excludes these two situations. There will be a beginning date and an ending date for the payments if you negotiate it and if a court orders it.

Can spousal maintenance be modified?

Yes, under certain circumstances and depending upon how your decree or Property Settlement Agreement was drafted.

What if my spouse quits working in order to stop having to pay spousal maintenance?

A former spouse cannot avoid spousal maintenance or child support by voluntarily reducing or terminating his or her employment. The court has the discretion to attribute income to a spouse who voluntarily reduces his or her income and to require the paying spouse to pay spousal maintenance or child support in the former amount. The test is earning potential, not the actual earnings, if there was some kind of mischief.

What if my former spouse refuses to give me current financial information relating to support or changes in jobs? (A.R.S. ?25-513)

You may send a written request by certified mail to your former spouse?s employer or former employer requesting detailed information about all pay and benefits paid to your former spouse by the employer. You may also file a Petition for Order to Show Cause or Request For Expedited Hearing, requiring your spouse to provide you with the relevant information and to keep you apprised of his or her current employer?s address. You should consult with an attorney.

Is spousal maintenance taxable?

Check with your accountant, but in general, spousal maintenance is taxable to receiver and tax-deductible to the payor.

Is spousal maintenance considered my salary for child support calculations?

Yes.

Can either a husband or a wife receive spousal maintenance?

Yes.

Can I waive my spousal maintenance?

Yes.

Does it matter how many children we have?

No.

Am I entitled to live the same as I did when we were married?

No. The style to which you have been accustomed is not the standard.

What if my husband had a really good job and now is unemployed?

It depends. If he cannot find employment, you may not be entitled to any spousal maintenance. You will have to investigate the reasons for the unemployment.

What if my husband has quit his job on purpose to avoid paying me?

If you can prove it, the court will consider the earning potential, not necessarily what he is actually earning. You would want to get his work records through discovery to find out if he quit, was fired, or was laid off.

What if my spouse will not give me current financial information relating to his change in jobs from Scottsdale to Flagstaff?

You may send a written request by certified mail to your former spouse’s employer or former employer requesting detailed information about all pay and benefits paid to your former spouse by the employer. You may also file a Petition for Order to Show Cause or Request for Expedited Hearing, requiring your spouse to provide you with relevant information and to keep you apprised of his or her current employer’s address. You should consult with an Arizona attorney.

What will the courts do here in Arizona if my spouse quits working in order to stop having to pay spousal maintenance?

A former spouse cannot avoid spousal maintenance or child support by voluntarily reducing or terminating his or her employment. The court has the discretion to attribute income to a spouse who voluntarily reduces his or her income and to require the paying spouse to pay spousal maintenance or child support in the former amount. The test is earning potential, not the actual earnings, if there was some kind of mischief.

When does spousal maintenance end in Arizona?

Spousal maintenance terminates upon the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse. This is called non-modifiable, but excludes these two situations. There will be a beginning date and an ending date for the payments if you negotiate it and if a court orders it.

In Arizona, how is spousal support paid?

Here in Arizona there are several options. It can be paid directly from one spouse to the other. Both parties should keep very accurate records of the payments. The court may order the payments to be made through the clearinghouse, administered by the state of Arizona. They keep track of payments for you. Failure to pay is more easily handled in the court if the payments go through the clearinghouse. Be aware that there is a lag time between the time the payment is made and the time it is received if you go through the state.

How is spousal maintenance calculated here in Arizona?

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. 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.

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