Is Separate Property Considered when Determining Alimony or Spousal Maintenance
Separate property can be considered in determining whether a spouse is entitled to a spousal maintenance award, and the award’s amount and duration.
In Arizona, "alimony" is called
spousal maintenance. There are four specific criteria that the Court must
evaluate in determining whether a spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance, and
the central theme is whether the requesting spouse can provide for his or her
In a proceeding for dissolution
of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following
dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over
the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse for
any of the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that
spouse's reasonable needs;
is unable to be
self-sufficient through appropriate employment; is the custodian of a child
whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to
seek employment outside the home; or lacks earning ability in the labor
market adequate to be self-sufficient;
contributed to the
educational opportunities of the other spouse; or
had a marriage of
long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining
employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
Once the Court determines that a
spouse qualifies for an award of spousal maintenance under one or more of the
foregoing criteria, the Court must consider an additional thirteen factors to
determine the amount and duration of the award
The maintenance order shall be
in an amount and for a period of time as the court deems just, without regard to
marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors, including:
The standard of living
established during the marriage.
The duration of the
The age, employment
history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse
The ability of the spouse
from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse's needs while meeting those
of the spouse seeking maintenance.
The comparative financial
resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the
The contribution of the
spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
The extent to which the
spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse's income or career
opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
The ability of both
parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of
their mutual children.
The financial resources of
the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that
spouse, and that spouse's ability to meet that spouse's own needs independently.
The time necessary to
acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance
to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily
Excessive or abnormal
expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community,
joint tenancy and other property held in common.
The cost for the spouse who
is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost
of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought, if the
spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health
insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
All actual damages and
judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in
which the other spouse or child was the victim.
Thus, separate property can be
considered both in determining whether a spouse is entitled to an award of
spousal maintenance, and also in determining the amount and duration of the