A spouse in a divorce (dissolution of marriage) or legal separation case may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance from the other spouse. Arizona calls this spousal maintenance, while other states call it alimony.
One of the following reasons must exist in order to receive spousal maintenance:
- A spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for their own reasonable needs.
- A spouse is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside of the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.
- A spouse contributed to the education opportunities of the other spouse.
- A spouse had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
If one (1) of these grounds exists, then the court determines the amount and duration of the spousal maintenance order based on thirteen (13) different factors set forth in the statute.
There is no formula for determining spousal maintenance.
Once a ground for awarding spousal maintenance is determined, judges have wide latitude to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance can be modified if either or both of the parties has a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.
Parties can agree that spousal maintenance is non-modifiable, in other words, that it can never be changed as to amount or duration.