Schill Law Group has a dedicated team of spousal support lawyers who will work with you to ensure that a fair spousal support agreement is achieved. Our spousal maintenance lawyers handle family law cases exclusively. With our experience in these cases and dedication to uncovering all of the facts necessary to build a thorough case, we can help.
Under Arizona Law A.R.S. § 25-319, ‘the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse for any of the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:’
- lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs
- is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition prevents the spouse from working outside the home, or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient
- has made significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse
- had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may prevent the spouse from gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient; or
- has significantly reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
If a couple settles or goes through mediation, a spousal maintenance amount is mutually agreed upon. If the case is litigated, a judge will decide whether an individual qualifies for spousal maintenance. If a couple cannot reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, a judge will make the decision for them.
- What constitutes “sufficient property?”
Although the law does not explicitly define “sufficient property,” it is understood as sufficient income to provide for an individual’s necessities, or sufficient property which would provide a sufficient form of income if converted into a suitable form or sold to provide a form of income. Spousal maintenance is sometimes not ordered when each spouse receives a large enough amount of community assets to provide for their financial needs.
- Unemployment, child who prevents spouse from working, or lack of adequate earning ability
A judge will consider the current labor market, as well as the spouse’s skills and experience, with special consideration given to older spouses whose main job was working as a homemaker and mothers who stayed at home during long marriages, as both age and too many years out of the job market increase the difficulty of finding work to support a comparable lifestyle to that which was enjoyed during the marriage. In addition, the custodian of a disabled or very young child may be exempt from the requirement to seek immediate employment due to the special needs of the child. Financial affidavits are usually required to prove reasonable expenses to help determine self-sufficiency based on individual incomes.
- Significant financial or other contribution to the other spouse
Under the updated law, which took effect in August 2018, the Arizona legislature has further defined the intent of this consideration. Previously, this factor was limited to specific contributions made to the other spouse’s educational opportunities only. The revision includes other ways in which a spouse can contribute to their spouse’s abilities to pay spousal maintenance, such as training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse.
- Age, and/or a marriage of long duration
This factor used in determining spousal maintenance is highly subjective, as what one judge may consider a marriage “of long duration” another may not. There is no set rule, but generally speaking a marriage of under 7 years is considered short-term, a marriage lasting from 7 to 20 years is considered of medium duration, and 20 years or more is considered a long-term marriage. Age is factored in when the duration of the marriage is long enough that the person seeking spousal support may not be able to obtain employment sufficient to meet their reasonable expenses.
- Significantly reduced income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse
This consideration was added with the 2018 update and takes into account any sacrifices made that resulted in significantly reduced income or career opportunities for the spouse seeking spousal maintenance.
If no spousal maintenance is ordered for either party, then any future right to an award of spousal maintenance, for both parties, is lost forever.
Whether you may be subject to paying spousal support or you are seeking an award of spousal support, you can rely on of the spousal support lawyers at the Schill Law Group to guide you through every step of the process. Your case will be handled directly by an attorney who will keep you informed and work diligently to ensure your case has a satisfactory outcome. Contact us today at (480) 525-8900 to schedule a free consultation regarding your spousal support case and learn about our flat fee agreement.