In Arizona, the spousal maintenance statute requires the Arizona trial judge to consider various factors to determine whether you qualify for spousal maintenance. If you do qualify for spousal maintenance, the next questions become: how much and for how long? The Arizona spousal maintenance statute requires the judge to look at yet another list of factors to adjust upward or downward the amount and duration of your spousal maintenance claim. Ideally, because spousal maintenance is not nearly as easy to predict as child support (because child support is governed by a mathematical formula that is required to be used in virtually every case), it often makes sense to reach a settlement with the opposing party. However, that is often not possible because the other party is not being reasonable. If the other party is unreasonable, as is often the case, your attorneys at Thomas Law Office will zealously advocate for you at your trial, whether you are seeking to obtain spousal maintenance or defend against your spouse’s spousal maintenance claim.
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Obviously, the duration of your marriage will be a key factor, as will the amount of your and your spouse’s income and earning capacity. Other factors regarding the amount of spousal maintenance include the monthly living expenses, standard of living during the marriage, the degree to which one spouse contributed to the others earning capacity, whether there are young children of an age such that the parent seeking spousal maintenance cannot earn sufficient income to support herself, as well as other factors that address the practical aspects of whether and how much maintenance is reasonable.
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One thing to be wary of is a spouse who plans a divorce far in advance and surreptitiously reduces his or her income over time in order to minimize or maximize the value of the spousal maintenance claim. As discussed elsewhere on this site, divorce planning is not uncommon, and so every Arizona divorce client needs to be on the lookout for improper actions taken by the spouse who is pushing for the divorce, improper actions such as hiding assets, reducing income, destroying or transferring assets, racking up debt, and provoking the other spouse into doing or saying things that may affect a court’s decision on the issues of custody and parenting time.