i-spousalmaintenanceSpousal Maintenance is Not So Predictable

Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support in some states, is a regular payment made by one party to another, either during or after divorce to assist with a party’s support if requested. Determining whether spousal maintenance will be granted — and if so, how much is one of the most difficult things to predict in a divorce case.

Kyle Scoresby and his staff at Scottsdale Family Law in North Scottsdale have assisted numerous clients in the area of spousal maintenance. His years of practice in family law provide him the knowledge and experience to guide you and provide you with insight into your case. Contact the office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options today.

Factors Involved in Determining an Award (or Denial) of Maintenance

Whether you are interested in receiving spousal maintenance, or interested in minimizing the likelihood that you will have to pay it, Mr. Scoresby has the knowledge and experience necessary to assist you with your case.

How much money a party makes is not the only factor involved in determining whether an individual is entitled to an award of spousal maintenance. There are several factors that a court looks at in making a determination regarding an award of spousal maintenance. These factors are governed by statute (a fancy word for law). Some of the main factors are disparity in income and the length of the marriage.

In general, the longer a couple is married and the greater the disparity in incomes, the more likely a court is to grant an award of spousal maintenance. Other factors also come into play, however, including health, earning ability and age of the individuals. 

What is the purpose of Spousal Maintenance

The reasons for requesting spousal maintenance vary from case to case. In general, courts view spousal maintenance as a way of achieving independence for both parties and as a way to require an effort toward independence by the party requesting spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is typically for a limited time, but in some cases it may be awarded for an indefinite duration, subject to being modified or terminated later when circumstances change.

In some cases — such as where one spouse has worked for years to put the other spouse through school — alimony may be considered a form of reimbursement. The purpose of this non-needs-based form of spousal maintenance is to achieve fairness–to reimburse the spouse who has made sacrifices to advance the other spouse’s education. This type of spousal maintenance has been termed “reimbursement spousal maintenance.” In determining the amount and duration of the reimbursement spousal maintenance award, the court is able to consider all relevant factors, but two of the statutory factors are especially applicable and are NOT needs-based. Although reimbursement spousal maintenance cases are far less common than maintenance cases based on need, the facts of certain cases DO justify awards of reimbursement maintenance.

Spousal maintenance is a complex and evolving concept, and the outcome of a spousal maintenance case in court is difficult to predict. Contact the North Scottsdale office today to set an appointment and discuss your expectations for your case.