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When does alimony or spousal maintenance end in Arizona?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Family Law

It is quite common for one spouse to earn more than the other. In fact, many families reach an agreement where someone leaves the workforce at least temporarily to care for a home, minor children or ailing family members. They voluntarily give up personal income and career development opportunities for the benefit of the family.

If a couple divorces when one adult has largely exited the workforce, that person may struggle to support themselves. Alimony or spousal maintenance can help close the gap between what it takes to live independently and what resources or earning potential someone currently has. One spouse must make monthly payments to the other to help them live independently during and after the divorce. These payments can also help compensate someone for the unpaid contributions they made to the home or a family business.

When do alimony or spousal maintenance payments typically end after an Arizona divorce?

The order likely includes that detail

The duration of Arizona spousal maintenance is often one of the most important details set in the court order. Whether spouses negotiate an arrangement for spousal maintenance or the courts order maintenance, the final order likely includes specific details about the amount of maintenance paid and the duration of those payments.

Temporary or rehabilitative maintenance, which is most common, usually only lasts for a few years at most. One spouse makes payments while the other obtains an education or restarts their career. Permanent maintenance is far less common but is sometimes available in special circumstances. Typically, spousal maintenance responsibilities persist until the spouse paying fulfills the requirements outlined in the order. However, there are a few circumstances in which someone can potentially end spousal maintenance early.

The remarriage of the recipient spouse could justify the other spouse asking the courts to end maintenance payments early. Obviously, the death of either spouse can also lead to the early termination of a spousal maintenance order. Occasionally, modifications of an order or early terminations are possible when there are drastic changes to the economic circumstances of either spouse, such as good fortune for the recipient or financial issues for the person paying.

Learning more about Arizona’s alimony rules can benefit those hoping to receive maintenance payments and those obligated to provide maintenance support to their former spouse due to mutually-agreeable arrangements or a court order following a litigated divorce.