Spousal maintenance, formerly called alimony, is meant to support an ex-spouse who experiences economic difficulties following divorce. Typically, the higher-earning spouse will have to pay spousal support to the low-earning (or non-earning) spouse. But apart from income, does the length of marriage matter in getting spousal maintenance? And if so, how long do you have to be married to get spousal maintenance in Arizona?
AZ spousal maintenance does not solely depend on the length of the marriage. The length of marriage, however, is still a major factor affecting the amount of spousal maintenance you may receive and the amount of time that you can receive it. Here’s a brief explanation.
How Length Of Marriage Affects Alimony in Arizona
There is no one formula for computing the amount and length of alimony in AZ. The court decides these on a case-to-case basis, examining factors such as the financial resources of each party, their earning capacity, their standard of living, and of course, how long the marriage lasted.
When looking at the length of the marriage, Arizona judges generally classify whether the marriage was long-term or not. A marriage of less than 10 years may be considered short-term and will likely result in a smaller alimony payment. On the other hand, a marriage that lasted over 20 years may be deemed long-term, resulting in a larger award… but not every judge follows this (or any other) guideline.
In terms of spousal maintenance duration, most court orders require alimony payments to last 30 to 50 percent of the marriage duration. A year-long marriage, for example, may result in spousal support lasting four months or so. Note that this is not an official rule prescribed by law but a rough estimate based on court awards.
How is Arizona Spousal Maintenance Calculated?
You may also have heard that Arizona spousal maintenance can be calculated using what is called the Maricopa County marital duration factor. In this computation, the number of years married is multiplied by a number from 0.015 to 0.5. Maricopa County indeed used this formula years ago, but the court eventually decided that it is no longer valid. Again, there is no hard-and-fast formula to calculate spousal maintenance – case-specific circumstances must be analyzed.
Finally, it must be noted that because there is no formula, the spousal support award is ultimately up to the judge’s discretion. Some judges have their own preferences in deciding for short-term marriages. You’ll want to be able to present your case effectively in court if you are seeking an ideal alimony award in this situation.
If you have questions regarding your potential spousal maintenance, or if your case is a little more complicated than others, it is best that you talk to a lawyer. In Arizona, Goldman Law is a competent, effective, professional advocate in spousal support cases, obtaining favorable awards for clients. Reach out to us today by calling (602) 698-5520 for legal guidance and representation.