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When is alimony awarded in Arizona?

| Oct 12, 2020 | Divorce |

Spousal maintenance, commonly known as “alimony,” is not appropriate in every divorce. It is generally awarded only while one spouse is unable to be self-sufficient. In those situations, the court can award spousal maintenance in an amount and for a period of time it deems just.

There are five situations in our spousal maintenance statute that justify the award:

  1. Even after property division, one spouse does not have sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs
  2. One spouse is unable to be self-sufficient through employment, either because they lack earning capacity or because they are the custodian of a child whose age or condition precludes them from working outside the home
  3. One spouse made a significant financial or other contribution toward the education, training, career or earning ability of the other spouse
  4. One spouse significantly reduced their own income or career opportunities to benefit the other spouse
  5. After a marriage of long duration, one spouse is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining adequate employment

Once the court has determined that one of these situations applies in your case, it will weigh the amount and period of the maintenance based on all relevant factors, including:

  • The marital standard of living
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet their own needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The comparative financial resources and earning capacities of each spouse
  • The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance toward the earning ability of the other spouse
  • The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance reduced their own income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other
  • The ability of each party to contribute to the future educational costs of their children
  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, after division of property, and that spouse’s ability to meet their own needs independently
  • The time it would take the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire sufficient education or training to enable them to find appropriate employment
  • Whether either spouse engaged in excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of the couple’s property
  • The cost for the spouse seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance, along with the reduction in health insurance costs for the other spouse
  • Any actual damages or judgments from conduct by either spouse that resulted in a criminal conviction for which a spouse or a child was the victim

Marital misconduct (infidelity) is not one of the factors to be considered.