Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is money that one spouse pays to another during or after a divorce. Sometimes, alimony is paid during both these periods, depending on the circumstances. The reasoning behind this is that when spouses separate, one may be unable to pay for living expenses, in which case a judge may require the higher earner – no matter whether the husband or wife – to help the lower earning spouse, at least for a time period.

Types of Spousal Maintenance

There are several types of spousal maintenance allowed under Arizona state law. Some of these include:

  • Temporary – this is meant to provide financial support for a short period of time and often is intended to allow the spouse to find stable employment, or obtain training
  • Pendent lite – meaning pending the final divorce, this type of alimony is awarded for the duration of the divorce proceeding
  • Permanent – increasingly rare, even after longer marriages, and is meant to last the spouse’s lifetime because he or she is unable to become self-supporting due to a disability, age or some other factor
  • Reimbursement – in limited circumstances, a court may award this to a spouse who helped with the advanced education and earning capacity of the other spouse


An Arizona court must establish that one spouse has a financial need and the other has the ability to pay in order to award spousal maintenance. A need may be determined by a judge if one spouse:

  • Is unable to self-sustain through appropriate employment
  • Contributed to the other spouse’s educational advancement
  • Does not have enough property, even after marital distribution, to provide for his or her own reasonable needs

A judge will consider other factors when determining whether or not a spouse is self-sufficient, including the current labor market, the spouse’s existing experience and skills, the age of the spouse at the time of the divorce, whether or not a spouse was a homemaker during a long marriage, or if a spouse took care of a young child or a disabled child, among other factors.

Once a court determines that spousal support is appropriate, the amount and duration will be determined, after considering a number of factors, including the marital standard of living; the length of the marriage; the paying spouse’s ability to meet the financial needs of both parties; the age, employment history, and earning potential, as well as physical and emotional condition of the alimony seeking spouse; both spouses’ ability to contribute to the children’s future educational costs; the costs of health insurances for each spouse; and other considerations.

Spousal Support Attorney

Contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack today by calling (480) 345-2652 to schedule your initial consultation with our Tempe family law attorney if you have questions regarding spousal maintenance or any other Arizona family matter. Our attorneys are eager to assist you with your case.