How does spousal maintenance work in Arizona?

Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, consists of payments from one former spouse to the other after divorce. You can ask for alimony when you divorce in Arizona if you cannot afford to establish a separate household.

Review the factors that influence spousal maintenance decisions in Arizona.

Types of alimony

If you have trouble paying expenses after separation, you can ask for pending alimony that lasts until the divorce becomes final. At that point, the judge may order either temporary or permanent alimony.

Temporary alimony gives you the chance to pursue education and job training opportunities so you can eventually earn an independent living. It comes with an established end date. Arizona courts rarely order permanent alimony, which lasts until either person dies or the recipient remarries.

Factors in alimony decisions

You can negotiate an alimony agreement with your spouse outside of court. You may also have an existing legal document such as a premarital agreement that covers spousal maintenance.

Otherwise, you can ask the judge to decide. He or she may award alimony in any of these circumstances:

  • You do not have the funds to pay for reasonable living expenses
  • You cannot earn a sufficient living because of a lack of job experience or training.
  • You cannot earn a sufficient living because you care for a young child.
  • You had a long marriage and cannot earn a sufficient living because of your health status or age.
  • You contributed, financially or otherwise, to your spouse’s education and career.
  • You limited your own opportunities for your spouse’s career

Either spouse can ask for a change in support if financial circumstances change.