How spousal support works in Arizona

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2020 | Family Law

In 2018, Arizona updated its statutes on spousal support, allowing more individuals to qualify for this type of payment after divorce. While the state previously had four possible qualifying factors for alimony, the new law expanded one of these four factors and added a fifth.

Learn more about how the state determines whether one party must pay spousal support in an Arizona divorce.

Threshold factors

The judge will consider awarding spousal maintenance only if your case meets at least one of these factors:

  • The requesting spouse does not have enough property or assets to provide reasonable self-support, even after fair division of marital property.
  • The requesting spouse cannot find sufficient employment or cannot work because he or she cares for a child or disabled family member.
  • The requesting spouse made substantial personal and/or financial contributions to the other spouse’s career, earning potential, training and/or education.
  • The marriage lasted many years and the requesting spouse cannot find sufficient employment because of his or her age.
  • The requesting spouse substantially limited his or her own career opportunities and/or income for the other spouse’s benefit.

Determination of support amount

If one or more of the threshold factors apply to your divorce, the judge will determine an appropriate amount of temporary or permanent spousal support. Factors for consideration include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • The cost of health care for each spouse
  • Each spouse’s physical and emotional health
  • Each spouse’s employment, financial resources and earning ability
  • The extent to which the requesting spouse reduced his or her prospects and/or contributed to the other spouse’s career and education
  • The ability of the requesting spouse to become self-sufficient with education or training
  • Whether either spouse has a legal judgment or damages from a criminal conviction

Spousal support in Arizona usually lasts as long as it will take the requesting spouse to become financially self-sufficient. Permanent support is rare except in cases involving a very long marriage and at least one spouse who can no longer work because of age.