During the Fifty-fifth Legislature, 2nd Regular Session, the Legislature amended A.R.S. § 25-319(B). The amendment asks the Supreme Court to establish guidelines for determining and awarding spousal maintenance. On July 20, 2022, Chief Justice Robert Brutinel established the FCIC-Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Subcommittee (FCIC-SMGS) through Administrative Order 2022-83. The FCIC-SMGS was tasked to study and make recommendations for the guidelines. Additionally, the FCIC was tasked with submitting a final report to the Arizona Judicial Council at its June 2023 meeting. We will update this blog after the June meeting.
The new law provides that if a spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance, the proposed guidelines will take into account, the length of the marriage, income, assets of the spouse, education of the spouse and work history of the spouse. Spousal maintenance can be ordered in cases that meet the criteria and only for the period of time and in and amount necessary to allow the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient. The Supreme Court shall base the guidelines and criteria for deviation from the guidelines on the following relevant factors and considered together and weighed in conjunction with each other:
1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
9. 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.
10. 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 available.
11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
12. 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.
13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that resulted in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.
Furthermore, a maintenance order shall be made without regard to marital misconduct. If both parties agree, the maintenance order and a decree of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation may state that its maintenance terms shall not be modified. The guidelines will apply to any spousal maintenance ordered on or after July 1, 2023 unless the petition was filed before September 24, 2022.
For further details see Arizona Draft Spousal Maintenance Guidelines at Preview attachment Arizona Draft Spousal Maintenance Guidelines.pdfArizona Draft Spousal Maintenance Guidelines.pdf263 KB
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