Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines: Self-Sufficiency Standard

spousal maintenance guidelines

What is the Self-Sufficiency Standard? spousal maintenance guidelines

Pursuant to § A.R.S. 25-319(B), “The Court may award spousal maintenance pursuant to the guidelines only for a period of time and in an amount necessary to enable the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient,” meaning the duration of the award is directly linked to how long it will take to achieve financial sufficiency.

How Spousal Support is Calculated

The standard and duration of spousal maintenance is determined by examining various factors, i.e. each spouse’s income, earning capacity, financial resources, assets, debts, and living expenses.  Additionally, the Court may consider the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage, the roles each spouse played in the marriage, and any relevant circumstances that could impact the receiving spouse’s ability to become self-supporting.

How Much Spousal Support Am I Entitled To?

By evaluating these factors, the court aims to create a fair and equitable arrangement that helps to enable the receiving spouse to maintain their basic needs and a basic, reasonable standard of living.  However, this does not mean that the spousal maintenance award will be such that the receiving party can maintain the same lifestyle they may have had during the marriage or been accustomed to.

What are the Factors / Guidelines?

The Court bases the guidelines on the following relevant factors from A.R.S. §25-319(B):

  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.
  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 resulted in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.

You can read more about the Arizona Spousal Support Guidelines in our September 2023 blog post.

Conclusion

It is important to seek legal advice from one of our experienced attorneys to help navigate the complexities of spousal support under Arizona law.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced team at Owens & Perkins.  Our dedicated family law attorneys are more than prepared to provide the guidance you need, helping to make the process clearer and more manageable for you.