How do Arizona courts view spousal maintenance?
Mesa, AZ family law attorney Paul C. Riggs talks about how the courts view spousal maintenance and what factors they consider when awarding it.
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There are several factors in which a person might qualify for spousal maintenance and it’s called spousal maintenance, in other states it’s called alimony but in Arizona it’s spousal maintenance. And there are five factors the court looks at. Among is the ability to support yourself and that’s the primary one, can you support yourself once you’re divorced. And so, the question is well then, how much can the other spouse pay? And so, the court looks at how long is it going to take for the spouse to become self-sufficient, independent, able to be self-sustaining. Those things the court looks at and so, they’ll look at how much money is in the pocket of the spouse that has the ability to pay versus how much is not in the pocket of the spouse that can’t pay. The court will look at that and they’ll award a spousal maintenance if they qualify.
Of course, that’s not going to be indefinite in most situations unless it’s been a real long marriage and it’s obvious that the spouse that needs it needs it for life. Usually, they’ll give a timeframe in which to get some background certifications, even education, a degree in order to be able to become self sufficient themselves. Spousal maintenance varies. It varies upon class, lifestyle, and other things of that nature. And so, the court looks at someone that’s very successful versus someone that’s barely making it and they determine how much that person might need in the form of spousal maintenance in the future. And that’s what the court does.