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There are two types of financial obligations that one party may seek against the other.  The first is child support and the other form of financial obligation or duties to support is spousal maintenance.  Spousal Maintenance laws and guidelines have changed as of September 24, 2022 and detailed spousal maintenance guidelines were developed and enacted as of July 10, 2023.  Specifically, the legislation amended A.R.S. §25-319 regarding spousal maintenance and directed the Supreme Court of Arizona to enact spousal maintenance guidelines that would encompass an award of spousal maintenance “only for a period of time and in an amount necessary to enable the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient.”  This has created an uptick in awards for spousal maintenance as many of the Courts are defaulting to the spousal maintenance calculator for any length of marriage.   To be clear, the parties must be married in order to seek spousal maintenance and the parties can seek spousal maintenance even when there are no children involved. 

Spousal maintenance has become a two-prong test. In the first prong, the Court must apply the factors outlined in Arizona Revised Statute §25-319 which states that the Court “may grant” spousal maintenance for either spouse; however, the Court must consider the following factors when determining the eligibility of such an award as it relates to the party seeking spousal maintenance:

1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs.

2. Lacks earning ability in the labor market that is adequate to be self-sufficient.

3. Is the parent of a child whose age or condition is such that the parent should not be required to seek employment outside the home.

4. Has made a significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse or has significantly reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

5. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.

            Once these factors are considered and the Court determines that one party is eligible for spousal maintenance then the Court must move to the second prong which is the utilization of the spousal maintenance calculator which can be located here.  The spousal maintenance calculator can be complex and must be calculated correctly, or it could lead to an inaccurate influx as to income and an incorrect award of spousal maintenance.

Arizona Spousal Maintenance / Alimony

Can I Avoid Paying Spousal Support in Arizona?

In Arizona, there are several ways to potentially avoid paying spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance. Here are some strategies that may help you in this situation:

1. Negotiate a Fair Settlement: If you and your spouse can come to a mutual agreement on the division of assets and debts during the divorce proceedings, including any spousal support payments, you may be able to avoid court-ordered spousal support altogether.

2. Prove Ineligibility: You can argue that your spouse is not eligible for spousal maintenance based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each party’s earning capacity and financial resources, standard of living established during the marriage, and contributions to the marital estate.

3. Show Financial Hardship: If you can demonstrate that paying spousal support would cause you undue financial hardship or prevent you from meeting your own essential needs, a judge may decide to reduce or eliminate the amount of spousal maintenance required.

4. Seek Legal Advice: Consulting with an experienced family law attorney who understands Arizona’s laws regarding spousal maintenance can help you navigate the legal process effectively and explore all available options for minimizing or avoiding payment.

It’s important to note that each case is unique, and what works in one situation may not apply to another. It is advisable to seek personalized legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances when dealing with issues related to spousal support in Arizona.

            You will want to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney who knows the ins and outs of spousal maintenance and how to maneuver the spousal maintenance calculator for the most accurate award.  Call Dodge & Vega for a free consultation today: 480-656-8333, or contact us here.      

Acknowledging paternity not only grants legal rights and responsibilities to the father but also supports the emotional bond between a child and their dad. Understanding the methods of establishing paternity, its legal implications, and the best interests of the child is essential for all parties involved. Legal guidance from a qualified family law attorney can help navigate the complexities of paternity and ensure that the process is in the best interests of the child and all those involved.