For years, litigants and attorneys alike have struggled with spousal maintenance. The struggle, historically, has been due to the unpredictability of applying A.R.S. §25-319, the statute outlining an award for spousal maintenance.
As a reminder, spousal maintenance is a two-part test. Part one is qualification, part two is determination.
Under Section A, you must show you qualify for an award of spousal maintenance. You can show this by providing evidence substantiating the following:
The requesting spouse…
If the requesting spouse can prove at least one of the above, he or she qualifies for an award.
Only if a spouse qualifies for the above does the Court move on to Section B to determine the amount and duration of the support. Historically, the amount and duration of spousal support awards were inconsistent in both amount and duration. As a result, the Arizona Supreme Court formed a subcommittee to create a spousal maintenance calculator to help create consistency in spousal maintenance claims. The Arizona Supreme Court approved a new calculator this month that is now the presumptive amount and duration for all spousal maintenance claims presented in family law cases.
Since the calculator is so new, it is not fully known what the full impact will be on spousal support claims and the ultimate awards issued by the Court. If you would like to see or use the new spousal maintenance calculator, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/app/selfsuffcalc/
Based on our understanding, the range calculated with the spousal maintenance calculator will be the presumptive amount and duration for all future spousal maintenance claims. While this presumption should at least make the awards more consistent, it is still to be determined whether the amount and duration will be more / less fair than the prior system, which allowed judges to assess 13 different factors in determining spousal support.
Blog post content by Castle Law LLC lawyer Jason Castle
Jason Castle is a family lawyer who specializes in high-conflict cases. He's also a former prosecutor & social worker. Hear his latest divorce thoughts!