Arizona does recognize spousal maintenance. Generally, the person required to pay is going to be the person who earned significantly more money. There is not a calculator for spousal support, which leads to the decision laying mostly in the judge’s hands. There are some general parameters, but spousal maintenance is based solely on need in Arizona.
The person requesting the spousal maintenance must show that they need some additional funds coming in each month to meet their reasonable needs. They fill out an Affidavit of Financial Information, basically a budget, that calculates their monthly expenses. If it shows they have less income coming in than expenses owed, they can show a demonstrated need. For example, if it shows they have $3,000 coming in, but $4,000 going out, then they need $1,000 in spousal maintenance.
Once need is established, the other party must show the ability to pay that much. The other party will not be forced to pay if it leaves them with a financial need. Spousal maintenance doesn’t typically get awarded unless there is a fairly significant difference in the salaries of the parties.
When Could Child Custody, Child Support, or Spousal Maintenance Be Modified in Arizona?
Typically, child support or spousal maintenance is modifiable at any time. For spousal maintenance, you have to show there’s been a significant change of circumstances to modify it. Perhaps the party that’s receiving support has become disabled and needs more to cover expenses, or the party that is paying has become disabled and is no longer able to pay. Those are situations where you can ask to modify spousal maintenance.
With child support, you have to show there’s been a change of circumstances, but the court presumes if you can show there’s at least a 15% difference between what you are receiving and what you would receive under a new calculation, then you can file for what’s called the simplified modification. The same goes for the payee. If the payee can show that the other party has earned a raise or they’ve gotten a reduction in pay, and there’s a 15% difference between what they’re currently paying and what they should be paying, they can also request a modification.
As far as custody goes, you can’t request to modify custody at any time. There are some parameters. If you have a court decision regarding legal decision-making authority or parenting time, you can’t ask to modify that for at least a year after it’s been made by the court, absent extreme circumstances like showing that the child is seriously in danger.
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