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By: Sampair Group

How Do Arizona Courts Determine Spousal Maintenance Eligibility and Amounts?

Phoenix family law attorney

When going through the divorce process in Arizona, you and your ex-spouse most likely have differences in your career and overall ability to earn a living. Sometimes, your chosen professions may differ in type and compensation, or you both agreed that one parent would remain home to care for your children.

Whatever the circumstances involved, usually one of you often starts with an inadequate or unfair advantage during the divorce process and even after it is finalized.

So, you must realize that Arizona is considered a “community property state.” Therefore, all the assets acquired during marriage are usually divided equitably when you divorce. However, spousal support (aka alimony) is considered a separate and additional benefit that stands apart from the division of the assets you’ve accumulated.

Also, the spousal maintenance Analysis is a two-step process. The first step is to determine whether you qualify for an award of spousal maintenance. The statute sets forth four criteria for someone to qualify under. The most common criteria is that one spouse does not have sufficient income to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs. The court takes into account what that spouse will be getting in the divorce in terms of assets to provide for reasonable needs.

The second step is to determine how much spousal maintenance and for how long you will be awarded. Prior to September, 2022, the statute provided for numerous factors for the court to consider. However after September, 2022, cases filed are subject to the Arizona Guidelines for Spousal Maintenance. These Guidelines create a formula established by the Arizona Supreme Court to determine the amount of spousal maintenance and the duration. The formula sets up ranges for amount and duration of spousal maintenance. The formula is a complicated formula and very difficult to understand. You would need to avail yourself of a skilled, experienced Scottsdale spousal maintenance attorney who understands the Spousal Maintenance Guidelines to protect your rights thereunder In order to maximize the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.

So, in most cases where spousal Maintenance is asked for, it’s always in your best interests to try to agree with your spouse on a fair agreement before going to court. Negotiation is vital when discussing spousal support with your spouse; The Spousal Maintenance Guidelines will create ranges for your negotiation. Therefore, enlisting the help and legal guidance of a qualified, aggressive, and empathetic Scottsdale spousal support lawyer will always help to provide you with a more satisfactory result. Your skilled spousal support law team is highly adept at these negotiations and will always fight for your interests and rights.

How Will I Know If I Qualify for Spousal Support in Arizona/

The Arizona court will consider each case carefully if spousal support is requested, and whether you need it to move on with your life must be determined.

Some of the items the court may consider are;

  • Do you have insufficient property or assets to support yourself after the marital property is distributed?
  • Can you obtain employment that will allow you to be self-sufficient? Or were you caring for your family, and it’s been a long time since you’ve worked?
  • Did you assist in any manner that helped to increase your spouse’s earning capacity, such as contributing to the cost of their education, training, or vocational skills?
  • Has your income or career contacts significantly decreased because you helped your spouse?

So, if you are seeking spousal maintenance, you and your skilled and adept spousal support lawyer must demonstrate your need clearly and precisely to the Arizona courts. This is a critical factor in which the skills and guidance of your Scottsdale spousal maintenance lawyer will prove invaluable.

Does The Arizona Court Have Any Guidelines On How Much Spousal Support I May Receive?

The spousal maintenance statutes were recently amended in Arizona, and new guidelines were developed. The most significant to note is that if you’re awarded spousal maintenance, it should only be granted for a specific period and only in an amount necessary for maintaining your life until you become self-sufficient. It’s vital to understand that these new guidelines only provide a preliminary “target range” so that the Arizona court can determine the needed and appropriate amount. However, much is left up to negotiations, and deviations can be made based on certain factors outlined in the statutes.

The Arizona court can use a computer-generated calculator on the Supreme Court’s website. This will give them a guideline when determining the amount you should be paid. Some of the factors involved in this calculation are;

  • Determining the size of your family – This calculation may Include all the parties and children involved that there is a legal obligation to support.
  • Determining your annual income – Calculate your and your spouse’s annual income and combine both incomes to determine your combined yearly income.
  • Calculating your monthly mortgage principal – Adding the monthly principal amount for your primary residence mortgage, excluding mortgage interest, taxes, and insurance.
  • Determine your expenditures – This is a calculated range and includes costs for one adult and one-half of the family’s expenditures.
  • Finally, calculate the preliminary target range – The “target range” is the amount remaining after subtracting your share of expenditures from the overall combined costs.

It’s critical to note that the Arizona court can provide you with an amount within this target range. However, other statutory factors and case-specific facts may be used to determine and alter this amount. Therefore, if your detailed and thorough spousal maintenance lawyer provides evidence, deviations from this target range can be allowed.

What Are the Possible Types of Spousal Support I May Qualify For?

Regarding getting spousal support as part of your divorce, it’s always wise to remember that, although some guidelines now exist, judges have much discretion when deciding the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.

That said, if you receive spousal maintenance, it may be ordered only for a specific period (and a certain amount) because of existing circumstances. For example, until you obtain a job and become self-sufficient.

Always remember Arizona has subjective guidelines regarding who gets spousal maintenance and that the negotiation skills of your experienced spousal support lawyer will be of significant help.

As your lawyer will explain, a few different types of spousal maintenance depend on your particular case and its circumstances.

Some examples are;

  • Indefinite Support – Unlike most spousal support, his indefinite award for spousal maintenance has no termination date. It may commonly be used when the spouse cannot reasonably expect to enter the workforce immediately and usually involves a substantial and irrefutable reason.
  • Rehabilitative Support – Rehabilitative Maintenance is the most common type of spousal maintenance ordered by the Arizona court. In most cases, it involves couples that intended to act as partners when they married. Therefore, one of you is often better situated in the workforce or a career, and the other is not. Usually, this support will be paid until the spouse can regain their financial footing.

Other forms of support may apply, but a great deal depends on the evidence and applicable reasons you and your lawyer bring before the judge.

I’m Going Through a Divorce and Require Spousal Maintenance; What Should I Do?

It would be best if you never forgot that although some new guidelines exist pertaining to spousal maintenance, much of the process is vague and subjective, and the judge has a lot of discretion in these cases. Therefore, if you wish to be successful, obtaining the help, guidance, and knowledge of a highly skilled spousal maintenance law team is mandatory.

The winning, experienced, and empathetic spousal support lawyers at the Sampair Group have a long-standing history of obtaining financial security for those who need it. Call them today for a case evaluation at (602) 975-3361, and they will fight for the finances you need and deserve to move successfully on with your life.