Spousal & Child Support

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a court ordered monthly payment from one spouse to the other. In Arizona, A.R.S. §25-319 gives us a two-part test to see if a spouse qualifies for spousal support and what the amount will be if ordered.

In part 1, (25-319(A)), there are four reasons the court may order spousal support.

  • If one spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs.
  • If one spouse is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment
    OR is the custodian of a young child or child with such special needs that the spouse should not be required to be employed outside the home,
    OR the spouse lacks the earning ability in today’s job market to be self-sufficient.
  • If one spouse contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
  • If the parties were married for a long duration AND the spouse is of an age that may make it difficult to find adequate employment for self-sufficiency.

If any of the 4 factors apply to a spouse, we then look at part 2 of the test to help determine the spousal maintenance amount. Part 2 (25-219(B)) allows the court to order an amount and duration (months or years) as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors.

  1. The standard of living established 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 that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
  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 that spouse’s 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 mutual children.
  9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently.
  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.

If you or your spouse is likely to seek spousal maintenance, please meet with me. The amount of spousal maintenance per month and the duration are up to the Judge. At trial you must be prepared to present strong evidence showing you meet the above factors or why your spouse does not meet the factors.

Child Support

Both parents are expected to financially support their children to help ensure their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and child care are met. The Arizona Supreme Court has provided guidelines to Judges and parents, so they know what is and is not considered “income”, how to calculate parenting time days and when it is appropriate to deviate from the guidelines.

The Court use a child support calculator to determine the amount of child support a parent pays which is based upon the parenting time schedule, parent’s incomes and other factors such as age of child, medical costs, child care and if either parent is supporting other children.

Here is the link the child support calculator to help you estimate what you can expect to pay or receive if child support is part of your family law case.

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