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When is maintenance awarded in Arizona and how is it calculated?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Family Law

Getting divorced can have significant financial consequences for both spouses. Moving from a dual-income household to a single-income household can be challenging, especially if one spouse did not work while married or earns a lot less than the other spouse.

To ensure both spouses can meet their financial needs post-divorce, a court may order one spouse to pay spousal maintenance to the other.

When is maintenance awarded in Arizona?

In Arizona, a court could order spousal maintenance be paid if:

  • A spouse cannot meet their reasonable needs following the property division process.
  • A spouse does not have the ability to find a job that allows them to be self-sufficient.
  • A spouse has custody of a child whose needs make it necessary for the spouse to stay out of the workforce.
  • A spouse contributed significantly to the career of the other spouse, including putting their own career opportunities aside for the benefit of the other spouse.
  • A spouse has been married for so long that it is not possible for them to obtain a job that allows them to be self-sufficient.

As this shows, spousal support is not a given in an Arizona divorce. And even if spousal support is awarded, the question of how much to award comes up.

Deviating from spousal maintenance guidelines

Arizona has guidelines regarding how much spousal support is appropriate. These guidelines can deviate, however, based on the examination of 13 factors. Some of these factors include:

  • The standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married
  • How long the spouses were married
  • The age and health of the spouse seeking support
  • The work history of the spouse seeking support and their ability to retrain for a new job
  • The contribution the spouse seeking support made to the earning capacity of the other spouse

These are only some factors the court will consider when deviating from state spousal maintenance guidelines; there are others.

Spousal maintenance can be a crucial component of the finances of the spouse receiving support. That spouse may not be able to make it financially if they did not receive support. Still, it is important that an award of spousal maintenance does not impoverish the spouse paying it. Both spouses deserve to be on equal financial footing following their divorce so they can remain financially secure as they move on in life.