The family law court has the authority to award spousal maintenance in a case for any amount and length of time it deems appropriate without regard to marital misconduct and after considering all relevant factors. The court may use any of the following reasons to grant maintenance if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
- Lacks sufficient property to provide for her or his reasonable needs; or
- Is unable to support himself or herself 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 support himself or herself; or
- Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse; or
- Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age which may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to support himself or herself. A.R.S. § 25-319(A).
The court will use numerous factors to determine the amount and the duration of an award of spousal maintenance. These factors include:
1. The standard of living 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 his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance,
5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses,
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 his or her 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 children,
9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance,
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 results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim. A.R.S. § 25-319(B) .
The award may be as a lump sum or by way of periodic installments. Lump sum awards may be payable in installments. The guidelines provide that the supporting spouse shall not be required to pay more than one-half of his or her net income as child support and maintenance.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree, the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance. A.R.S. § 25-327(B). The court shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over the maintenance issue for as long as maintenance continues, unless, parties agree the maintenance order and decree specify that its maintenance terms shall not be modified.