Some aspects of divorce, such as child support and division of assets, are issues that can be predicted by judges and attorneys, but spousal maintenance is not one. Highly unpredictable, spousal support is based on a formula that takes into consideration both the duration and amount awarded. In Arizona, this is the Maricopa County Spousal Maintenance Guidelines, but these are only advice, not hard fact. A Judge can choose to decide what he or she deems best, based upon the evidence presented in court.
Spousal Maintenance Comes With A Start, and End Date
How a judge decides to award spousal maintenance in Arizona is based upon A.R.S. §25-319. This Arizona statute mandates that, upon considering upwards of 13 different factors, the Court make a factual finding. Factors including such things as:
- Does the spouse seeking spousal maintenance lack sufficient property to provide for that spouse’s reasonable means?
- Are they unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment?
- Did the spouse contribute to the educational opportunities of the other spouse?
Arizona, as well as other states such as California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, is a community property state. This means everything acquired by the spouses during the marriage is deemed community property and is split 50/50. In some states, the Court may award one spouse a larger share because of the fault of the break-up of the marriage. The Court generally splits the property and debts down the middle when this is not the case.
Changing Spousal Maintenance Amounts
The standard of living established during the marriage must be taken into consideration when a court determines whether the amount and duration of spousal maintenance is enough. So if, as part of their divorce decree, there is a provision to update spousal maintenance amounts, a spouse can petition the courts for the change as long as the stipulations of the provision are met. For this reason, it is important that when setting up the original documents, all areas of the divorce are considered. An experienced lawyer understands, based on past results and cases, what to put in place early on to accommodate future changes.
Consider an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you find spousal maintenance in Arizona confusing, you are not alone. Different judges, changes in income, and how decrees are worded can make a huge difference in how maintenance is awarded. This is why obtaining an attorney experienced in Family Law is imperative when deciding to end a marriage, especially when seeking, or attempting to defer, spousal support.
If you have decided to end your marriage, Simon Law group can help you navigate the confusing landscape. Call today for a free consultation and let us help you sort through all that is seemingly overwhelming to you. Serving the Greater Phoenix area with personal injury law, Simon Law can be reached anytime day or night at 480-745-2450.