HOW DOES THE COURT DETERMINE SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE?

Spousal Maintenance, known in many other states as “Alimony,” is one of the most ambiguous and difficult areas in Arizona Family Law.  Determining whether to award spousal support during a divorce is a matter of judicial discretion. The award of spousal maintenance will be modifiable in the future (upon a showing of substantial and continuing change of circumstances) unless the parties agree that it shall be non-modifiable and such a provision is included in the final order

In making her/his decision, the judge will first consider the factors listed in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319(A). Those factors include the length of the marriage; the age of the spouse seeking spousal support; whether that spouse is able to be self-sufficient through employment; whether she/he has sufficient property to provide for her/his reasonable needs; and whether she/he is caring for a child whose age or condition makes it difficult or impossible to work.  If the judge determines that one or more of the above factors applies, then spousal maintenance may be awarded.

As for how much should be paid in spousal maintenance, and how long it should be paid, the judge will look to section B of the statute.  Arizona has no specific guidelines (as it does with child support) to make this determination, and there is nothing in the statute that specifically instructs the Court as to the amount, or the duration, of a spousal maintenance award. Instead, there is a second set of factors, which include the following: “

(1) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(2) The duration of the marriage;

(3) The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(4) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouses’ needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(5) The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;

(6) The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse;

(7) The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;

(8) The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children;

(9) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently;

(10) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education  or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available;

(11) Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common;

(12) The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved; and

(13) All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.”

Since there is no set of guidelines for the determination and calculation of spousal maintenance, the final result will depend on how each judge applies the statutory factors to the facts of the case. This can result in wide variations in spousal maintenance awards — and it makes it important for a person seeking spousal maintenance to present a solid case using a “needs-based” analysis.  Thorough preparation, good organization, and a convincing courtroom presentation will give you the best chance for success.  A strong, experienced attorney can greatly increase your chances of receiving a spousal maintenance award.

 

This response is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or representation.  To understand your rights and obligations under the particular circumstances of your case, you should seek legal counsel.

The Law Firm of Gary Frank P.C. is an Arizona Family Law firm that has been a fixture in the prestigious Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Our attorneys, Gary Frank and Hanna Juncaj, are strong litigators, highly-skilled mediators, and compassionate counselors. We handle divorce and spousal maintenance cases, as well as legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, relocation/move-away, Paternity, Grandparents’ rights and Non-Parents’ rights cases, modification actions, enforcement actions, and all other matters related to Family Law.  If you are in need of a consultation, attorneys Gary and Hanna would love to talk to you.  Please call us today.  You can reach our office at 602-383-3610, or you can contact us by email at through our website.  To learn more about our firm, take a look at our web site at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be happy to help you.

 

How Spousal Maintenance is Determined in Arizona

Spousal Maintenance, known in many other states as “Alimony,” is the grayest of gray areas in Arizona Family Law.

Determining whether to award spousal support during a divorce is a matter of judicial discretion.  This means that it is up to the judge to decide whether an award of spousal maintenance would be appropriate, based on an examination of the facts of your particular case.  The amount and length of the spousal maintenance award is also determined by the judge.  An award of spousal maintenance may be granted in favor of either spouse, depending on whether it is the Husband or the Wife who is in need of support.

In making her/his decision, the judge will consider the factors listed in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319(A).  Factors in that section include the length of the marriage; the age of the spouse seeking spousal support; whether that spouse is able to be self-sufficient through employment; whether she/he has sufficient property to provide for her/his reasonable needs; and whether she/he is caring for a child whose age or condition makes it difficult or impossible to work.  If the judge determines that one or more of the above factors applies, then spousal maintenance may be awarded.

But there is another important part of the equation —  How much should be paid in spousal maintenance?  . . . And for how long?

For the answer to these questions, the judge turns to section B of the statute.  The problem is that there is nothing in Section B that specifically tells the Court the amount, or the duration, of a spousal maintenance award.  Instead, there is a second list of factors for the judge to consider in making his or her decision.  Here are the factors:

1.      The standard of living established during the marriage;

2.      The duration of the marriage;

3.      The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

4.      The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouses’ needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;

5.      The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;

6.      The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse; 

7.      The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;

8.      The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children;

9.      The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently;

10.    The time necessary to acquire sufficient education  or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available;

11.    Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common;

12.    The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved;

13.    All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.

As you can see, there is absolutely nothing in the statute that tells the judge how much the spousal maintenance payment should be — or for how long it should be paid.  Unlike child support decisions where the Court has a set of guidelines that can be used to determine the monthly support amount, there is no set of guidelines for the determination and calculation of spousal maintenance.  Therefore, the final result will depend on how each judge views the facts, and how he or she applies the statutory factors.  This leaves the door open for wide variations in spousal maintenance awards.

The bottom line is this:  It is important for a person seeking spousal maintenance to present a solid case using a “needs-based” analysis.  Thorough preparation, good organization, and a persuasive presentation will give you the best chance for success.  This is one area of law where a strong, experienced attorney can make an enormous difference.

The Law Firm of Gary Frank P.C. is an Arizona Family Law firm that has been a fixture in the prestigious Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Our attorneys, Gary Frank and Hanna Juncaj, are strong litigators, highly-skilled mediators, and compassionate counselors. We handle divorce and spousal maintenance cases, as well as legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, relocation/move-away, Paternity, Grandparents’ rights and Non-Parents’ rights cases, modification actions, enforcement actions, and all other matters related to Family Law.  If you are in need of a consultation, attorneys Gary and Hanna would love to talk to you.  Please call us today.  You can reach our office at 602-383-3610, or you can contact us by email at through our website.  To learn more about our firm, take a look at our web site at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be happy to help you.

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE IN ARIZONA – A MAZE OF FACTORS, BUT NO SPECIFIC FORMULA

A number of people have asked me if Arizona has a set of Spousal Maintenance Guidelines that the courts use in calculating spousal support.  The answer is, “No.”  

Spousal Maintenance is handled differently than Child Support.  In determining Child Support, our courts utilize a formula contained in the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.  But (unlike some other states) Arizona does not have spousal maintenance guidelines.  And our courts do not use a formula for calculating spousal maintenance. 

 
At one time, Arizona did use a statutory formula for calculating support, but it was repealed about the time I began practicing law, over thirty years ago.  Years later, Arizona adopted a new set of Spousal Maintenance Guidelines using a different formula.  However, in practice, the Maricopa County Superior Court judges uniformly rejected those Guidelines and refused to utilize them as a basis for awarding spousal support.  Eventually, the Spousal Maintenance Guidelines were dropped altogether.
 
Another effort was made to enact Spousal Maintenance Guidelines was made fairly recently, and a committee was even formed to look into the subject and make recommendations.  But the idea has gone nowhere, and no new formula has been accepted.
 

Spousal Maintenance in Arizona continues to be determined on a “needs-based” analysis, using the factors listed in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319.  The statute contains a two-pronged approach.  The judge will apply the factors contained in Section “A” of the statute to determine whether the applicant is entitled to an award of spousal maintenance.  If spousal maintenance is deemed appropriate, the judge will then go to Section “B” of the statute to determine the amount and duration of the spousal support award.  

The factors in A.R.S., 25-319 are non-inclusive.  The Family Court is instructed to consider not only the factors listed in the statute, but “all relevant factors,” in determining spousal maintenance.  Nothing in the statute specifies how much spousal support should be paid, or how long the payments should continue.  This gives the judge much latitude in making his or her decision; and, as a result, awards of spousal support tend to vary widely from court to court, and from judge to judge.

 
Thus, the best way to argue a case for spousal maintenance is to:  
 
(1)  Use the statutory factors to show why you are in need of, and entitled to, spousal support;  
 

(2)   Provide proof of how much your monthly expenses exceed your income; 

(3)   Demonstrate how much monthly support you will need to make ends meet; and    

(4)   Explain what you will need to do, and how long it will take, to increase your income to the point where you can approximate the standard of living you had during the marriage (for example, you may need to finish school, take a trade course, grow your own business, move up the ladder at your current employment, etc.).   

This will give the judge a basis for determining the amount and duration of the spousal maintenance award. 

 
Judges are allowed a great deal of discretion in deciding spousal maintenance disputes; and every judge will make that determination using not only the law, but also his or her own world view.  Unlike child support (where we do have Guidelines), there is very little uniformity in determining spousal maintenance in Arizona.  For this reason, it is critically important to put together a well-organized presentation and make and convincing argument at trial.
 
For a look at the factors the Court uses to determine spousal maintenance, see A.R.S., Section 25-319.

http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/25/00319.htm&Title=25&DocType=ARS

Our attorneys, Gary J. Frank and Hanna Juncaj, are strong litigators, highly-skilled mediators, and compassionate counselors with a wealth of experience in dealing in divorcecustody/legal decision-making and parenting-time issues. In addition to representing Family Law clients in litigation, we are also willing to help people by working with them on a Limited-Scope or Consultation-Only basis.  Our office is located in the Biltmore area of central Phoenix, with satellite offices in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, Arizona.  We can be reached by telephone (602-383-3610); or you can contact us by email through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding any area of Family Law, contact us today.  We’d be happy to help.

ALIMONY REMAINS A GREY AREA OF FAMILY LAW

Spousal Maintenance, known in many other states as “Alimony,” is the greyest of grey areas in Arizona Family Law.

Determining whether to award spousal maintenance is a matter of judicial discretion.  This means that it is up to the judge to decide whether an award of alimony would be appropriate, based on an examination of the facts of your particular case.  An award of spousal maintenance may be granted in favor of either spouse, depending on whether it is the Husband or the Wife who is in need of support.

In making her/his decision, the judge will consider the factors listed in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319(A).  Factors in that section include the length of the marriage; the age of the spouse seeking spousal support; whether that spouse is able to be self-sufficient through employment; whether she/he has sufficient property to provide for her/his reasonable needs; and whether she/he is caring for a child whose age or condition makes it difficult or impossible to work.  If the judge determines that one or more of the above factors applies, then spousal maintenance may be awarded.

But there is another important part of the equation — How much should be paid in spousal maintenance? . . . And for how long?

For the answer to these questions, the judge turns to section B of the statute.  The problem is that there is nothing in Section B that specifically tells the Court the amount, or the duration, of a spousal maintenance award.  Instead, there is a second list of factors for the judge to consider in making his or her decision.  Here are the factors:

1.      The standard of living established during the marriage;

2.      The duration of the marriage;

3.      The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

4.      The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouses’ needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;

5.      The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;

6.      The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse; 

7.      The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;

8.      The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children;

9.      The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently;

10.    The time necessary to acquire sufficient education  or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available;

11.    Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common;

12.    The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved;

13.    All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.

As you can see, there is absolutely nothing in the statute that tells the judge how much the spousal maintenance payment should be — or for how long it should be paid.  For child support decisions, the Court has a set of guidelines that can be used to determine the monthly support amount.  But while there is a move afoot in some states to design a set of guidelines, Arizona has none.   Therefore, the final result will depend on how each judge views the facts, and how he or she applies the statutory factors.  This leaves the door open for wide variations in spousal maintenance awards.

The bottom line is this:  It is important for a person seeking spousal maintenance to present a solid case using a “needs-based” analysis.  Thorough preparation, good organization, and a persuasive presentation will give you the best chance for success.  This is one area of law where a strong, experienced attorney can make an enormous difference.

Gary Frank is an Arizona Family Law Attorney who has been a fixture in the prestigious Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Our office handles divorce and spousal maintenance cases, as well as custody, child support, relocation/move-away, Paternity, Grandparents’ and Non-Parents’ rights cases, modification actions, enforcement actions, and all other matters related to Family Law.  If you are in need of a consultation, we’d love to talk to you.  Please call us today.  You can reach us at 602-383-3610, or contact us by email at [email protected]  To learn more about our firm, take a look at our web site at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be happy to help you.

ALIMONY IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD — IT CUTS BOTH WAYS

Not long ago, the notion of a wife being ordered to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) to her husband in a divorce case would have been laughed at.   Men paid alimony, not women.  But that was then, and this is now.  Things are changing fast.
Throughout most of our country’s history, opportunities for women were limited.  No matter how bright, talented, or motivated they might be, women were allowed only one socially acceptable career path – motherhood.  Society was rife with prejudice against women, and barriers were firmly established everywhere — in education, in the business world, and in the social structure – to keep them in their place.  With these massive societal obstacles, it took almost a superhuman effort for any woman to obtain an education and forge a successful career.  Most women in the 1950’s and 60’s were stay-at-home mothers, and not always by choice.  If a woman wanted to work, she was likely to be offered a low-paying job, at best.  Not many careers were open to women.  They could become a nurse, a teacher, or a secretary – but a career as a doctor, a school principal, or a business executive was almost unattainable, regardless of the woman’s intelligence, experience, or qualifications.  A “glass ceiling” was erected and any individual woman who tried to break through it did so at her own peril – she was likely to get sliced to pieces in the effort.
The concept of alimony grew out of a society in which men had the freedom to work and women were bereft of opportunities.  When a divorce occurred, it was common that the wife found herself with little education, training, or work experience, and no means of providing for herself financially.  Without spousal support, a divorced woman could fall from a high standard of living to a life of abject poverty – and many did.  Laws providing for spousal support (referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance) were enacted to help soften the blow. The purpose of the law was to give a spouse sufficient time in which to obtain the education, training, or work experience necessary to be able to adequately support herself.  In rare instances, a spouse was awarded “lifetime” support, but this was usually limited to cases in which there was a long-term marriage, an unusually high standard of living, and/or a disability.  
 
Until fairly recently, the concept of a man being awarded spousal maintenance was almost unheard of — but society is changing, and so are our laws.
 
Arizona’s spousal maintenance statute can be found at A.R.S., Section 25-319.  It is purposefully worded in a manner which is gender-neutral, stating:
 
“In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation . . . the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse . . . “
 
While the “glass ceiling” hasn’t been completely shattered, it is coming down quickly.  Women have made great strides in business, education, politics, sports, and in the social structure at large.  In fact, in 2010 more than 57% percent of college students in the U.S. were women.  This means that the economic and political clout of women is growing and will continue to grow.  Equality for women in every facet of our American society is now a foregone conclusion.  (If you are the parent of a daughter — or a son — you should welcome this change.)
 
In 2011 it is not uncommon for a wife to be earning as much, or more than, her husband.  It is not strange anymore to see a “stay-at-home father” taking care of the children while his wife goes off to work to support the family.  And, as a result, it is no longer unheard of for the Court to order a wife to pay alimony to her husband following a divorce.
 
A.R.S. 25-319 provides a list of factors that the Court is required to consider in determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. Some of those factors are:
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The family’s standard of living during the marriage;
  • The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their earning abilities in the labor market;
  • The contribution of the spouse seeking support to the earning ability of the other spouse;
  • The extent to which the spouse seeking support has reduced his or her income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;
  • The age of the spouse seeking support;
  • The physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking support;
  • Whether a spouse lacks sufficient resources to provide for his/her reasonable needs;
  • Whether the spouse seeking support is able to be self-sufficient or lacks the earning ability to be self-sufficient;
  • The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking support to find appropriate employment, and whether such education or training is readily available.
There was a time in which one could expect the “spouse seeking support” to almost always be the wife. That era is coming to a close. Society is becoming more fair, balanced, and equal.  That’s a good thing. 
 
In the future, when two parties divorce and the spouse in need of support happens to be a man, then spousal maintenance will be awarded to him.  And that’s a good thing, too.
 
 
Gary Frank has handled Spousal Maintenance issues, for both women and men, in Family Law cases for over thirty years.  He is well acquainted with complex issues in divorce cases, having dealt with them as a litigation attorney, a mediator, and a judge pro tem in the Maricopa County Superior Court.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding the issue of spousal maintenance, or any other Family Law matter, please give us a call at 602-383-3610, or contact at us through our website.  We would be happy to talk to you.
 
   
 

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO DETERMINE SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Spousal Maintenance is the greyest of grey areas in Family Law.  If you ask an attorney “How much alimony will I get in my divorce?” and he gives you a definitive answer – get up and run out of his office – and don’t look back! 

The fact is that Arizona law does not provide any definitive answers or formulas that the courts can use to determine spousal support.  Rather than a formula, Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319 contains a list of factors that a judge can consider in deciding the amount and duration of spousal maintenance – or whether it should be paid at all.  But not one of those factors tells you “how much” or “how long.”

For child support, the courts use a standard set of guidelines which makes calculation a relatively simple matter.  Plug in the numbers, and the child support calculator will pop out a child support amount.  However, there are no generally accepted guidelines for spousal maintenance.  When such guidelines did exist most judges refused to use them (and for good reason – they just didn’t seem to make sense).  Ultimately they were thrown out altogether.  Now, in determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance the Court looks to the factors contained in the statute.  As a result, decisions can vary widely depending upon the numbers, the facts and circumstances, and even the jurist who is deciding the issue.

The prevailing view in Arizona is that spousal maintenance is intended to promote transition to financial independence.  This is called “Rehabilitative” spousal maintenance.  In most cases in which spousal maintenance is awarded, support will be ordered for a specific period of time so that the receiving-spouse can obtain the education, training, or experience necessary to increase her/his income to a level which will enable that person to be self-sufficient. 

Under certain circumstances, the Court may award spousal maintenance for an indefinite period of time, instead of a fixed term.  Some people refer to this as “lifetime” spousal maintenance.  But these cases are the exception rather than the rule.  They are generally limited to situations involving long-term marriages in which the spouse seeking support lacks a work history and/or is of an age where she/he can never be expected to become self-sufficient.  An indefinite award of spousal maintenance may also be justified if a spouse is disabled and incapable of working after the divorce. 

Where one spouse has sacrificed by working to help support the other while he/she obtained a professional degree (such as in law or medicine), and the marriage ends before the economic benefit is realized, it is not uncommon for spousal maintenance to become an issue.  The Arizona courts have held that an education is not community property subject to division in a divorce.  However, the supporting-spouse’s sacrifice, the other spouse’s educational degree attained during the marriage, and the potential for greater earning capacity can all be considered as factors, along with the others in the statute, in determining spousal maintenance.

With no guideline for calculating spousal maintenance, a judge is left to base her/his decision on the factors contained in the Arizona statute.  In determining how much support is appropriate, the courts often employ a “needs-based analysis” by looking at the requesting-spouse’s budget and examining the extent to which the monthly expenses exceed income.   A determination of how long the payments should be made will depend on the length of time the parties were married, their standard of living, how long it will take the spouse receiving maintenance to become self-sufficient, and the other factors listed in the statute.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for determining the amount or duration of spousal maintenance.  The Court makes that decision on a case-by-case basis using the list of factors contained in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319.  Because this is one of the greyest areas in Family Law, a proper presentation of evidence in the courtroom is essential — in fact, it can be the difference between years of financial security . . . or no support at all.

Gary J. Frank, is an Arizona Family Law Attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with spousal support and property division issues in divorce cases.  He also has many years of experience as a Family Law Mediator.  If you are in need of a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone (602-383-3610) or by email through our website.  We look forward to hearing from you.


ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES, SECTION 25-319:

A.    In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or a legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:

1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for his or her reasonable needs;
2. Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self sufficient;
3. Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse; or
4. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.

B.    The maintenance order shall be in an amount and for a period of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors, including:

1. The standard of living established during the marriage;
2. The duration of the marriage;
3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her own needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market;
6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse;
7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced his or her income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse;
8. The ability of both parties after the divorce to contribute to the future educational opportunities of their mutual children;
9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and his or her ability to meet his/her own needs independently;
10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment, and whether such education or training is readily available.
11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved; and
13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.

C.    If both parties agree, the maintenance order and a decree of dissolution of marriage or of a legal separation may state that its maintenance terms shall not be modified.

D.    Except as provided in subsection C of this section or § 25-317, subsection G, the court shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over the issue of maintenance for the period of time maintenance is awarded.

ALIMONY STATISTICS

Here are some interesting Alimony Statistics from “The New Art of Alimony” by Jennifer Levitz for the Wall Street Journal November 4th, 2009, via the Maricopa County Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter:
  • Americans paid $9.4 billion in alimony to former spouses in 2007. (IRS) That’s up from $5.6 billion a decade earlier. (IRS)
  • 97% of alimony-payers were men last year (2008). (U.S. Census)
  • The percentage of women supporting ex-husbands is increasing. (U.S. Census)
·         Women made up 46.7% of the work force in 2008. (DOL) That’s up from 41.2% in 1978. (DOL)
·         Women, 45 to 54 years old, earn 75% as much as men the same age.
In Arizona, Alimony is referred to as Spousal Maintenance (there is a more thorough discussion of spousal maintenance on my website).  In deciding whether to award spousal maintenance; and in determining the amount and duration of payments, the Court looks to the factors listed in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-319.  There are no guidelines for awarding spousal maintenance, and every case is determined on its own merits, based on the factors listed in the statute.  These can be complex cases which require an analysis of the parties’ lifestyle, the financial needs of the spouse seeking maintenance, and the other party’s ability to pay.

I have handled spousal support cases in Arizona for thirty years. If you are in need of a consultation regarding the issue of Spousal Maintenance then do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Gary J. Frank P.C. for a consultation.  You can reach us by telephone at 602-383-3610 or by email through our website at http://www.garyfranklaw.com/.   Contact us today.