What people should know about spousal maintenance in Arizona

There are some important details people should know about spousal maintenance and how it is determined.

Arizona couples who are getting a divorce will be dealing with a number of important legal questions. One of these is whether one of the parties should be given alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is a regular monthly amount that one person must pay to their ex-spouse. There are a number of things that people should know about alimony as they proceed into a divorce.

What is the justification for spousal maintenance?

The Judicial Branch of Arizona for Maricopa County states that one thing people should know is that spousal maintenance payments do not supplement or substitute child support payments, as they are considered a separate matter. Spousal maintenance is designed on the principle that both spouses created a situation for increased living standards and earning potentials when they were together. As such, if one spouse will not be able to provide for his or herself after a divorce, the other spouse provides a sort of safety net by means of the monthly payments.

How does a person qualify for spousal maintenance?

According to the Arizona State Legislature, there are some specific things that have to have occurred in order for a maintenance order to be granted:

  • The spouse seeking maintenance is too old to get adequate employment, due to the marriage having lasted a long time.
  • The seeking spouse contributed to the other spouse's education or opportunity to be educated.
  • The seeking spouse is unable to earn enough money to be self-sufficient.
  • The seeking spouse is too busy acting as custodian of a child to be able to get adequate employment to support his or herself.
  • The seeking spouse does not have the property to provide for his or her needs.

Furthermore, a seeking spouse's emotional and physical condition is also considered. An important fact that is mentioned in the law is that any of the above reasons can qualify a spouse for spousal maintenance.

What determines the amount and duration of maintenance?

There are numerous factors listed in the legislature that the court takes into account before deciding how much should be paid. In addition to the above items, the court will also consider the potential paying spouse's earning ability and financial resources. In some situations, the court may determine that the seeking spouse only needs the financial support for a limited time and may order alimony for that period. In other cases, the maintenance may be ordered over a period of many years.

If a person is getting a divorce in Phoenix and has question about how to go about pursuing spousal maintenance, it may be beneficial to consult a local lawyer who practices family law.