Arizona courts work to divide a couple’s property equitably in divorce. However, in some cases, a fair division of property is not enough to provide one spouse with the support they need after their marriage ends.
In these cases, a spouse may be able to request spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony. Why might the court award spousal support in an Arizona divorce?
What factors does the court consider when granting spousal support?
The decision of whether or not to award spousal support depends on the unique situation of both the receiving spouse and the paying spouse, as defined by Arizona statute A.R.S. § 25-319. The court may ask a wide variety of questions to determine whether spousal support will be a part of their finances after divorce. These questions include:
- How long did the marriage last? What was the receiving spouse’s standard of living during this time?
- What resources will each spouse have after their divorce?
- How able is each spouse to support themselves? Do they have a gap in their employment history or a physical or emotional condition that limits their ability to work?
- How much time would the receiving spouse need to acquire the education or training needed to support themselves?
- Can the paying spouse meet their own needs while paying maintenance?
- Did the receiving spouse make contributions to the paying spouse’s earning ability or non-monetary contributions to the household?
These factors can influence not only how much support the court grants the receiving spouse but also how long they receive that support. For example, maintenance payments might offer support while a spouse who has spent time out of the workforce seeks training or education but end when they can re-enter the workforce.
If you or your spouse is requesting spousal support, carefully consider the terms of such an arrangement and how they will impact you long-term. Some spouses may accept spousal support terms that seem fair in the current moment but are financially strenuous over time. Additionally, if you and the other party share a child, you may want to consider how spousal support will factor into your child’s well-being. Ensuring each parent retains their standard of living is especially important when children are involved in the divorce.
While spousal maintenance payments are not a part of every Arizona divorce, they can offer some people the support they need as they transition into the next chapter of their life.