During a divorce, the topic of spousal maintenance may come up. Spousal maintenance is what used to be commonly called alimony. Although it doesn't happen in all divorce cases, it's common in those where one spouse worked and the other stayed home to raise children.
But what is spousal maintenance, and when is it likely to be granted? Continue reading below to learn how spousal maintenance might be an issue in your case.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is also sometimes called alimony or spousal support. It's a court-ordered payment from one former spouse to the other former spouse after divorce and is intended to help the recipient spouse to meet their reasonable needs.
This payment is separate from child support. In some circumstances, a spouse may be required to pay both spousal maintenance and child support.
When Do You Qualify for Spousal Maintenance?
There are limited circumstances when a spouse qualifies for an award of spousal maintenance. Some of those circumstances include when the parties have had a long-term marriage, or a spouse is not able to work at an income level to be self-sufficient, or if a spouse has reduced their own career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse’s career.
Spousal maintenance is most often requested when one spouse lacks sufficient property and earnings to support themselves following a long-term divorce. This typically happens when one spouse has been out of the workforce for many years, perhaps staying home to care for children while the other spouse continues to work and advance their career.
In Arizona, spousal maintenance is most often rehabilitative, meaning that the goal is to order spousal maintenance payments for a limited period of time to support that spouse while they re-enter the workforce and gain the necessary skills and training to become self-sufficient.
In some rare circumstances, a spouse may not be able to re-enter the work force, and when that happens the spousal maintenance may continue for a longer period of time.
How are Spousal Maintenance Amounts Determined?
There are no statutory calculations to determine the amount of spousal maintenance that will be ordered. Instead, the judge will look at various statutory factors to make a determination regarding the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.
Some of the factors the court will consider include the standard of living of the marriage, the length of the marriage, the earning ability of the person seeking spousal maintenance, the time necessary to obtain training or education to re-enter the work force.
Why You Should Work with a Divorce Attorney?
Spousal maintenance is a complicated issue, and because there is not a simple formula to determine the amount or duration of spousal maintenance, it is important to work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney. The attorneys at Lawrence & Jecmen can help.
Get Help with Your Divorce Today
If you need legal representation in your Arizona spousal maintenance case, the divorce attorneys at Lawrence & Jecmen PLLC are ready to help. Call us today at (602) 807-1400 to learn more about how we can help you during these challenging times.