Under Arizona law, spousal maintenance (a.k.a. alimony) can be pursued by a spouse seeking financial assistance in order to minimize economic hardship post-divorce. The amount of alimony is typically determined by agreement between the parties or by the court. In most cases, spousal maintenance is set for a finite period of time, but can be awarded for an indefinite duration, depending on the facts of the case.
Modification of Alimony is Allowed
Once alimony is established, it is possible to seek modification of the support amount due to sudden changes in circumstances. Under A.R.S. Section 25-327(A), a court has the ability to modify spousal maintenance if a party can establish a continuing and substantial change in circumstances. The court will consider a myriad of factors including the annual earnings of both parties, the alimony recipient’s ability to generate income on the part of the party receiving the award, among other factors.
But can a recipient of spousal maintenance seek to have the order modified so they receive support indefinitely? That question was addressed in a recent Arizona case – Green v. Green, 1 CA-CV 14-0646 FC (Ariz. Ct. App. 2005).
Modifying Alimony to Make Indefinite Must Be Supported by a Substantial and Continuing Change in Circumstances
In this case, the husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife alimony in the amount of $1,925 per month for the duration of nine years. After eight years and eight months of payments, the wife petitioned the court to modify the spousal maintenance order by increasing the monthly payment and to continue the support for an indefinite period of time.
The wife testified that her expenses increased since the issuance of the spousal maintenance award and the development of debilitating physical ailments. Though, she admitted that she was still physically able to work and she did not have a note or opinion from a medical professional stating she was unable to work or was disabled.
The court found that the wife failed to show the existence of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. The reasoning of the court included the fact that the wife made no effort to increase her income to meet her own living expenses and she failed to followed her physician’s recommendations regarding changing her occupation in order to address her health complaints. Therefore, her Petition to Modify Spousal Maintenance was denied.
This case is a prime example of how important it is to have a thorough, detailed, and properly supported claim to seek the modification of spousal maintenance.
Speak to an Experienced Tempe Divorce Lawyer
As you can see, modifying spousal maintenance can be difficult. This is why you need an experienced attorney on your side that has actual experience advocating for maintenance modification. The Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack is here to help. We assist residents of Tempe, Arizona, and surrounding areas in all aspects of divorce matters, including alimony. To speak with a lawyer contact us online or by calling 480-345-2652.