By Jessica M. Cotter, Esq.
There is not a simple answer to this question. There is no formula to determine how much spousal maintenance is to be paid or for how long it should be paid. Loose statistics indicate that the average award in Maricopa County is $500.00 per month and the average duration is five years. It is intended to assist the lesser earning or unemployed spouse to be self supporting. Spousal maintenance is taxable income to the party receiving it, and a deduction from the income of the party paying it.
According to Arizona Revised Statues 25-219 (a) the person who requests spousal maintenance must first qualify to receive spousal maintenance. The person requesting it must meet one of the following 4 criteria.
1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse's 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.
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.
Once that hurdle is overcome then the court looks at 13 factors that will help them determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. Those factors are found in Arizona Revised State 25- 319 (B) and they are as follows:
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 spouse's 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.
The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 North 79th ave
Glendale, Arizona 85308