Deciding if spousal support is right in your case involves many considerations. In some the solution is more obvious than in others. Understanding whether the court may order spousal support in a divorce or legal separation action empowers the parties to create fair and realistic agreements without the cost of litigation. Some important considerations to a well thought out spousal support agreement is a spouse’s lack of self-sufficiency while taking into consideration the community resources, the earning ability of both parties and the duration of marriage.
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Arizona Law provides that spousal maintenance may be appropriate if the party requesting spousal maintenance:
lacks sufficient property, including the property given to the spouse during the divorce, to provide for his or her reasonable needs;
is unable to be self-sufficient through employment or lacks earning ability to be self-sufficient (or because there is a minor child whose age or condition prevents the spouse from working); or
contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
DURATION AND AMOUNT
If spousal maintenance is appropriate according to all or any of the above factors, the following factors assist in determining the amount and length of the spousal support obligation:
The standard of living established during the marriage
The duration of the marriage
The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
The ability of the spouse who will pay the spousal maintenance to support his or her needs while meeting the needs of the spouse seeking the maintenance
The comparative financial resources and earning abilities of both spouses
The contribution of the spouse seeking spousal maintenance to the earning abilities of the other spouse
The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced his or her income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse
The ability of both spouses to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
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.
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.
Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
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.
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.
Spousal support is tax-deductible for the paying spouse
Spousal support is taxable income to the receiving spouse
Parties can agree to spousal support being modifiable or non-modifiable in duration and amount
Arizona law dictates, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, that a spousal support order is not modifiable and terminates as ordered or upon the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse