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What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) is a monthly payment from one spouse to another, which is designed to allow for the spouse who earns less income to establish a home and living environment on his/her own.

Spousal maintenance is used for an easier transition to becoming a single person, in certain circumstances. Spousal maintenance is designed to help a person get on his/her feet. Depending on the court order, Spousal Maintenance can last indefinitely. Spousal maintenance terminates according to the duration of the Order, upon the death of the payer or when the recipient gets re-married.

Changing a Spousal Support Order in Arizona. 

Spousal maintenance is a highly litigated area of family law because there is not a mathematical formula to assist in determining the amount and duration. No guarantees can be made regarding what a Court will order for amount or duration of spousal maintenance. We often encourage parties to reach an agreement for spousal maintenance because through an agreement, parties can agree that spousal maintenance is non-modifiable in terms of amount and duration. If the issue of spousal maintenance goes to trial for the Court to decide the issue, then your spousal maintenance will be modifiable at any time the legal standard is met.

If your current spousal maintenance order is modifiable, then you can change the amount and/or the duration through an agreement with the other party or by petitioning the Court. We offer Mediation Services and we can set-up a mediation session for you and the other party to attend and attempt to reach an agreement on a new spousal maintenance order.

 Is your Spousal Maintenance Order Modifiable?

Yes – If your Spousal Maintenance Order was issued by the court, your Spousal Maintenance Order is modifiable. The court does not have the legal authority to add a “no modification” clause.

No – If your Spousal Maintenance Order was made by agreement during the divorce, there is a possibility that it contains a “no modification” clause. If it does, your Spousal Maintenance Order is not modifiable.

In order for a Court to modify spousal maintenance there must be a continuing and substantial change in circumstances since the previous order.

THE COURT MAY CONSIDER MANY FACTORS TO DETERMINE IF THE CHANGE IS “SUBSTANTIAL AND CONTINUING” INCLUDING:

  • An increase or decrease in salary of either parent.
  • A change in child custody.
  • A change in health provider, premiums, or carrier.
  • The obligation of either parent to support other children.
  • Any unexpected medical or education expenses.
  • Any additional expenses for a handicapped child or of special needs.
  • Increase in cost to provide care for the child.
  • An increase in expenses for court-ordered supervised visitation or supervised exchanges