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What should I know about calculating spousal maintenance?

For Arizona couples who have decided to end a marriage, both parties will have concerns about various issues after the divorce. One factor that frequently arises is spousal maintenance. Understanding what factors are involved when spousal maintenance will be ordered, how much it will be and how long it will last are essential to a case and can impact everyone involved.

After a divorce, the court can grant maintenance. The following reasons will be considered when determining whether to award maintenance: if the receiving spouse does not have enough property to provide for his or her reasonable needs; if he or she cannot self-support via appropriate employment or has custody of a child with a condition that should not require the parent seek work outside the home or does not have the ability to earn enough to self-support in the current labor market; if he or she has contributed to the other spouse's education; or if the marriage was for a long period and the person's age might prevent them from getting employment that will provide sufficient income for self-support.

The amount of time for which the support will be awarded and the amount will be based on the following: the standard of living while they were married; how long the couple was married; how old the person is, what the employment history is, and what their emotional and physical condition is; the paying spouse's ability to support him or herself while supporting the other spouse; and the financial resources of both parties and their ability to earn in the labor market.

Also factored in is: how much the receiving spouse contributed to the earning power of the paying spouse; how much the receiving spouse reduced his or her income and opportunities to benefit the paying spouse; if the spouses are able to contribute to a child's education; financial resources including property; how long it will take for the receiving spouse to become sufficiently educated or trained to find employment for self-support; if there are excessive expenditures, destruction of property and the like; how much health insurance costs to cover the spouse receiving support; and damages from behavior that led to a criminal conviction of either party with a spouse or child victim.

Spousal maintenance can be a complicated issue. With the listed factors and issues that are part of the process, it is important for the paying spouse and the receiving spouse to have legal assistance to navigate these matters. An experienced law firm should be consulted with immediately for help with a case.

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