A party’s entitlement to receive or obligation to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) depends on a number of factors and is unique in each case. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to assist a party who is not in a position to meet his or her own reasonable needs after a separation or divorce to achieve the goal of financial independence.

In recent years, spousal maintenance has been heavily structured toward providing a party the means to rehabilitate themselves to eventually become financially self-sufficient.

Determining Spousal Maintenance in Arizona Requires a Two-Part Analysis.

First, an inquiry is made whether a party qualifies for spousal maintenance. In order to qualify, a spouse must show he/she:

  • Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs.
  • Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self -sufficient.
  • Has made a significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse.
  • Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
  • Has significantly reduced his/her income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

If a party qualifies, the next inquiry becomes how much maintenance the spouse is entitled to receive and for long. There are twelve (12) factors the court must consider when analyzing that question.

Unlike child support, there is no formula which determines the precise length or amount of spousal maintenance.

Due to the subjective nature of the factors, there is often a wide range of possible outcomes for spousal maintenance. The thoroughness of budgets and specific plans for financial independence are a large part of obtaining spousal maintenance or defending against it.

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