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Arizona Alimony
Maintenance

Alimony is also commonly referred to as maintenance in the state of Arizona. As a rule, Arizona courts consider alimony only when specific circumstances exist. These include when a spouse lacks property for self-support, has to take care of a child whose emotional or physical disabilities make employment difficult, when one spouse contributed to the education of the other, and instances where the marriage lasted a very long time and the spouse's age makes it difficult to find suitable employment.

In Arizona a support award can influence a property distribution, so maintenance can become a very intricate part of a divorce.

As is the case with property division, the court does not consider marital misconduct on the part of either party in awarding alimony. Adultery, for example, does not influence either the decision to award or withhold alimony, or its amount.

When the court deems alimony necessary, the law outlines what factors the court considers. Relevant considerations include, but are not limited to, how long the marriage lasted, standard of living achieved during the union, the age of the receiving spouse, and the contribution of the receiving spouse to the education, training or earning ability of the other.

Under Arizona's Revised Statute 25-319 (the spousal maintenance statute) courts must first decide whether alimony is necessary before ordering it. Arizona's statutory code provisions allow courts to order maintenance upon a showing of need by the spouse requesting support. The spouse requesting a support order must prove that he or she lacks assets or property to become self-sufficient and that he or she cannot find a job because of a lack of vocational training, skills or has significant child care responsibilities.

Someone may be eligible for alimony when the petitioning spouse is too old to reenter the workforce and earn a sufficient income to be self-supporting, particularly if the marriage lasted a long time, or if he or she is the custodial parent of young children, and is therefore unable to maintain employment. A spouse who was the primary wage earner so that his or her partner could continue higher education may receive maintenance for contributions to a spouse's education. Lastly, if the distribution of property was unequal, leaving one spouse without the means to support himself or herself, he or she may be eligible for maintenance.

Spousal maintenance is generally owed until a court believes that the recipient should be able to be financially self-supporting. However, alimony terminates earlier if either spouse dies or the recipient marries.

In Arizona alimony payments go through a clearinghouse that distributes them to the recipient unless another method of payment has previously been agreed upon or ordered by the court.

Types of Alimony

In Arizona courts typically award rehabilitative or temporary spousal maintenance, instead of permanent or continuing support. The goal of rehabilitative support is for the paying spouse to provide support until the receiving spouse can become self-sufficient.

Support normally ends when either party dies, after a specific amount of time, or at remarriage of the spouse receiving the maintenance payments.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Arizona the courts have discretion in the award of alimony. According to Arizona Statutes - Title 25 - Chapters: 319, 322, in awarding maintenance, the court considers:

  • the standard of living established during the marriage;
  • the length 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 that spouses needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • the comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;
  • the contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
  • the extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced their own income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;
  • ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children;
  • the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouses ability to meet that spouses own needs independently.
  • the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
  • excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common;
  • the cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
  • all actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.

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