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It is not uncommon for a married couple to rely on one income or for one spouse to earn a substantially higher income than the other. Thus, in many divorce cases, one party will suffer a financial blow when the marriage is dissolved and will seek spousal maintenance to offset their lack of income. If you intend to file for a divorce, it is prudent to meet with a capable Mesa spousal maintenance lawyer to discuss the potential financial implications of a divorce and the likelihood that the court will order spousal maintenance in your case. The seasoned family law attorneys at Stromfors Law Office will analyze the facts of your case and help you seek a fair and equitable result. We have been providing residents of Maricopa County with legal support in divorce cases for close to 20 years, and we will help you seek the best legal result obtainable under the facts of your case.
Factors Weighed in Deciding Whether to Grant Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is the term that Arizona uses for what is generally known as alimony. Maintenance is not appropriate in every case, and a court has broad discretion in determining whether to grant maintenance. A court will assess the factors established by Arizona law to evaluate whether maintenance is warranted. One important factor that a court will consider in determining whether maintenance should be granted is whether one spouse lacks adequate property or is unable to earn an income sufficient to support his or her reasonable needs.
A court will also grant maintenance in cases in which one spouse made significant contributions to the education, career, or earning ability of the other spouse, or drastically reduced his or her income or career opportunities for the benefit of his or her spouse. For example, if one spouse stopped working to stay at home and tend to household and child care duties so that the other spouse could focus on his or her career, maintenance may be warranted. A spousal maintenance attorney in the Mesa area can help present this type of argument to the court. Additionally, maintenance may be granted if the court finds that the marriage was of a lengthy duration, and the spouse seeking maintenance is of an age at which it is unlikely that he or she will be able to gain adequate employment to support himself or herself.
Determining the Appropriate Amount of Spousal Maintenance
If a court decides that maintenance is appropriate, it must then assess the amount of maintenance that the party receiving maintenance is owed. The court will consider any relevant factors to calculate how much maintenance should be paid by the obligor spouse, and for which length of time. Many of the factors that the court considers are the same as those evaluated in determining whether either spouse is owed maintenance.
Additional factors that the court will investigate include the standard of living to which the parties were accustomed. The court will be mindful of the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, as well as his or her age, health, earning ability, and employment history. Our Mesa spousal maintenance attorneys can advise you on how these factors may apply in your situation. In addition to factors pertaining to the spouse seeking maintenance, the court will assess the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to provide financial support for the party seeking maintenance. Once the court has determined the appropriate maintenance award, it will issue an order establishing both the amount of maintenance and the length of time for which it must be paid. If both parties agree, the maintenance order can state that the terms of the order cannot be modified.
Consult a Trusted Mesa Attorney to Discuss a Spousal Maintenance Issue
Whether spousal maintenance is owed is a fiercely contested issue in many divorce cases, which can lead to drawn-out legal battles. If you are in the process of deciding whether to get a divorce, you should consult a trusted family law attorney to discuss whether spousal maintenance might be granted in your divorce case. At Stromfors Law Office, we can develop compelling arguments in your favor to help protect your rights during the divorce process. We represent people in divorce actions throughout Maricopa County. You can contact us via our online form or at (480) 237-1276 to set up a conference with a spousal maintenance lawyer in the Mesa area.