When seeking divorce in Scottdale, you and your spouse will need to make a decision about a number of important family law issues. While you have probably already given much thought to things such as with whom your children will live, how much you will owe or be paid in child support, and how property will be divided, spousal maintenance is another common issue in divorce that you should consider. At the firm of Modern Law, PLLC, our experienced Scottsdale spousal maintenance attorney can help you to understand what spousal maintenance is, and when a court may issue a spousal maintenance order.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is the official term for spousal support, or alimony as it is often called. It is a recurring payment that is made by one party to another pending or following (or both) the dissolution of a marriage. The point of spousal maintenance is to provide a person who was financially dependent upon their spouse during the course of the marriage with the financial assistance that they need to maintain their quality of life and pay for the basic costs of living.
Does a Court Always Award Spousal Maintenance?
No, a court does not always issue a spousal maintenance award. In fact, in marriages where both spouses are financially independent, parties are relatively young, or the marriage only lasted for a short duration (i.e. under five years), spousal maintenance awards are uncommon. This is because spousal maintenance awards are based on the reasonable needs of the requesting spouse.
What Determines Whether a Party Will Be Awarded a Maintenance Award, How Much, and for How Long?
When a court makes a determination about spousal maintenance, it is a two part decision: First, a court must determine whether or not the party is eligible for maintenance of not. If so, then the second part of the determination is determining for how long the maintenance order should last, and how much the spouse should receive in maintenance.
Again, whether or not a party in a marriage is eligible for maintenance is dependent on their reasonable need for maintenance. Under Arizona Revised Statute section 25-319, a court may determine that a party is eligible for maintenance if:
- The maintenance-seeking spouse does not have the property or assets necessary to provide for their needs;
- The maintenance-seeking spouse contributed to the education advancements of their husband or wife;
- The maintenance-seeking spouse is unable to acquire employment and income sufficient to provide for reasonable needs; or
- The marriage lasted a significant duration, or the maintenance-seeking party is of a certain age, to make acquiring employment and income unreasonable.
If any of the above factors are satisfied, then a court will move on to considering: how much the spouse should receive in maintenance and for how long the award should last. This will be based on a number of factors, including the age of the parties, the income and resources of the parties, the duration of the marriage, each party’s contributions to the marriage and to the other’s employment and education, and any other relevant factors.
Some maintenance orders are awarded for life, although this is becoming uncommon. In all cases, a maintenance order will be terminated if either party dies or the award recipient remarries.
Can a Spousal Maintenance Award be Modified?
Yes — a spousal maintenance award can be modified if circumstances warrant the change. In order to modify an order, you will need to file a petition to modify spousal maintenance with the court and provide all requested information, including a financial affidavit and description of what your current spousal award is, what you think it should be, and why you think the court should grant a modification.
How Our Experienced Scottsdale Spousal Maintenance Attorneys Can Help
At the law offices of Modern Law, PLLC, our experienced Scottsdale spousal maintenance attorneys have seen too many people walk away from recovering a spousal maintenance award because the process is too confusing or too divisive. While we understand that recovering a spousal maintenance award can be controversial, it may also be necessary to protecting your financial future. Our lawyers care about that financial future, and want to help you receive the award that you deserve.
If you are filing for divorce in Arizona, our Scottsdale spousal maintenance attorneys are here to advocate for you. Please schedule a free consultation with our law offices today by calling us directly or texting us anytime.