In part one, we went over the largest factors in determining an award of spousal maintenance income in the state of Arizona. They aren’t the only ones though. The court may consider additional factors, as follows.
Actual income refers to all income received, from any source, before any deductions or withholdings. This can include, but isn’t limited to, income received from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, military pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits subject to statutory limitations, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability benefits, military disability benefits to the extent includable under the law, interest paid on equalization payments, recurring gifts, or prizes. It may also include money received from retirement assets, subject to certain limitations. Child support, importantly, is not included in the determination of actual income under the Guidelines. Attributed income is then further calculated based on the actual income of both spouses during the marriage for the purposes of determining spousal maintenance income.
Property refers to all assets capable of either generating an income or reducing living expenses in their current or converted form. The court must consider all property owned by the parties when deciding whether to attribute income, however, the first $100,000 of a property’s assessed value is not taken into this determination. The court does not consider how property is distributed between the spouses and may consider the marital home in its determination. As such, mortgage payments may factor into the determination of whether to award spousal maintenance income.
Duration of the Award
Spousal maintenance awards may not be indefinite under the new guidelines. They may only be for such a time as to allow the supported spouse to achieve self-sufficiency. A large factor in this determination is the length of the marriage. In general:
Marriages of less than 24 months may receive 3 – 12 months of spousal maintenance.
Marriages between 24 and 60 months may receive between 6 to 36 months of spousal maintenance.
Marriages between 60 and 120 months may receive between 6 and 48 months of spousal maintenance.
Marriages between 120 and 192 months may receive between 12 and 60 months of spousal maintenance.
And finally, marriages of over 192 months may receive between 12 and 96 months of spousal maintenance.
Importantly, if a marriage’s length plus the age of the party requesting support exceeds 65, the duration of support is within the discretion of the court. The disability of one or more spouses may also put the duration of support within the discretion of the court.
Temporary orders may be given by the court to maintain the status quo while the court considers a case. They are meant to prevent the requesting spouse from experiencing catastrophic financial losses while the court makes its determination.
If a spouse can demonstrate substantial changes to their circumstances, they may be able to request a modification to their support order under the new guidelines. The court considers these requests, and their effects on support duration, on a case-by-case basis.
If you are a party to a spousal maintenance support case in Arizona, Simon Law can help! Our expert attorneys can help you to get the support that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced attourney.