Do Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Exist?
Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines
The Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines were initially approved by the Maricopa County Superior Court on April 19, 2000. The guidelines provided a basis upon which parties could determine a baseline amount of alimony in Arizona from which they could either increase or decrease the amount of spousal maintenance depending upon any unique factors that applied to their particular case. The guidelines were created in response to a nationwide attempt to create a standardization of the calculation of spousal maintenance because the amounts being awarded, as well as the duration of those awards, could vary significantly depending on the judge assigned to your case.
The Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines are a mathematical formula whereby the length of the marriage is multiplied by .015. The resulting number was called the “duration factor.” That “duration factor” number was then multiplied by the difference in the parties’ incomes to arrive at a baseline spousal maintenance amount. For example, a 15 years marriage would result in 15 x .015 = 22.5%. If one spouse earned $8,000.00 a month and the other spouse earned $3,000.00, there would be $5,000.00 difference in their incomes which, when multiplied by 22.5%, would result in a baseline spousal maintenance amount of $1,125.00 per month. The duration of the award under the guidelines would be anywhere between 30% and 50% of the length of the marriage.
It is important to note that neither the Arizona Supreme Court nor the Arizona Legislature, drafted nor approved the guidelines. As a result, subsequent decisions from the Arizona Court of Appeals denounced the application of the guidelines, so they are no longer in use in Arizona alimony cases.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about spousal maintenance guidelines in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about spousal maintenance laws in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and child custody attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.