Why is Spousal Support Awarded in Arizona
There may be several reasons why spousal support is awarded in Arizona. The Arizona Supreme Court reviewed the history of spousal maintenance and why it is awarded in a divorce case in Arizona in the case of Schroeder vs. Schroeder. The court began its analysis by looking at the justifiable expectations of the spouses and a judge’s obligation to give effect to its spousal support awards.
The historical reasons why spousal support has been awarded has changed over the years. There are also several current reasons why spousal support may be awarded. For example, spousal maintenance may be awarded to allow a parent to stay home to raise young pre-school aged children, may be awarded to enable a spouse who is unable to financially support themselves to gain more experience or training to become self-sufficient, or may be awarded to allow a spouse to recover from an impaired earning capacity as a result of being out of the workplace for an extended period of time.
In more recent times, there are two conflicting themes supporting an award of spousal maintenance in Arizona. Once theme sets out the purpose of spousal maintenance as rehabilitative and only to be awarded in such amounts and for such length of time as it is needed for a spouse to become self-sufficient. The other more permanent award is granted when a spouse will never be able to become self-supportive at a level commensurate with the standard of living established during the marriage.
The present goal for spousal support is to achieve financial independence for both spouses and for such awards to be rehabilitative and restricted to a limited amount of time to enable a spouse to be able to support themselves. As a result, the spouse receiving spousal maintenance must achieve independence through good faith efforts at rehabilitation.
An award of spousal support that reflects the goals of rehabilitation enable a court to determine if someone has made a good faith effort to become financially self-supportive and, thus, should continue to receive spousal support. The paying spouse should have a justifiable expectation to pay spousal support in the amounts and length of time ordered by a judge after which support payments will end. The spouse receiving spousal maintenance has a justifiable expectation that if he or she pursues additional, education, and training to become self-supportive.
Reasons to Modify Spousal Support Awards
A modification of the amount of spousal support or the length of time it is needed should, in theory, only be granted when some unforeseeable circumstance changes whether financial support should continue to be paid. On the other hand, a spouse receiving maintenance who fails to use good faith efforts to become rehabilitated through education, training, or experience may no longer be justified in expecting continued support payments.
Call the experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona spousal support attorneys at (480)305-8300 at Hildebrand Law, PC to learn more about adopting a child in Arizona.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about spousal support in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about spousal maintenance laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law 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 child custody case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.