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How is spousal maintenance calculated in Arizona?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Divorce

In an Arizona divorce, the parties can be in dispute over myriad issues. The most emotionally charged aspects frequently revolve around children. Child custody and support can sow the seeds for acrimony. However, there are other factors that inevitably arise such as property division and spousal maintenance. With the latter, it is easy to see the case from both perspectives.

The person who is being asked to pay support could have concerns about the amount, how long it will last and if the receiving spouse is obligated to try and look for some form of employment so the payments are no longer required.

The receiving former spouse might say that he or she functioned as a homemaker and, after doing so for many years and foregoing education and training, is limited in what can be earned, hindering self-support. From the start, it is important to understand the law, how maintenance is calculated and the fundamental factors that are part of the process.

Reasons for which the court can order spousal maintenance

The court will consider the circumstances when it decides whether to order spousal maintenance, how much will be paid and its duration. If the spouse who is asking for maintenance does not have sufficient property and cannot self-support, then there can be an order for spousal maintenance.

Some people do not have the skills or training to self-support. That is true for many people who have been married for an extended period and did not get an advanced degree, did not need to work because the spouse was providing the financial support or are limited in skills that are relevant in the current job market.

Lack of earning potential can warrant an order of maintenance. In some marriages, the spouse seeking to receive maintenance provided support to the other spouse while that person was building a business, attending school or accruing skills for professional advancement. If this is the case, then the spouse who benefited from that could be asked to pay maintenance.

Amounts and duration of spousal maintenance

For the amount and the duration for which spousal maintenance will be paid, there are other considerations that the court will use. In any marriage, there will have been a standard of living.

If the couple was of substantial means and had a nice home, vacation properties, automobiles and luxury items, then the receiving spouse will be supported to maintain that lifestyle since it had been established during the marriage. Longer marriages generally require a higher amount and a greater duration for support.

The duration of the marriage will be assessed to decide on maintenance. The receiving former spouse’s age, work history, how much he or she is expected to earn when seeking employment and their personal condition are assessed. For some people, they simply need time to get training and education to be able to work and support themselves. Spousal maintenance will cover for that.

For family law cases, it is essential to have comprehensive assistance

In some situations, the sides can negotiate amicably and come to a reasonable agreement regarding spousal maintenance. In others, that is not possible.

Regardless of the details, those who are in the process of getting a divorce and are thinking about how much they might be asked to pay in maintenance or are considering what they feel they are entitled to as recipients should be fully prepared from the start. Having advice can provide information and help throughout the process and could be essential to reaching a positive result.