How Long Will I Have to pay Spousal Support?

Settlement Photo
A Scottsdale divorce attorney explains factors can impact the duration of spousal support in AZ.

The duration of your spousal support obligation will depend on the terms of your divorce settlement/decree, as well as some other factors, which we will point out below.

Types of Spousal Maintenance in Arizona

Before diving into the discussion of how and when spousal support obligations can end in Arizona, it’s first important to understand the different types of spousal maintenance that can be awarded. Generally, the three types of spousal support payments in Arizona include:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance , which are the payments awarded while the divorce is proceeding (This may also be referred to as pendent lite, which roughly translates to “pending the final divorce.”)
  • Rehabilitative spousal maintenance , which is generally awarded when one spouse requires some financial assistance rejoining the work force
  • Permanent spousal maintenance , which are longer-term spousal support payments ordered as part of a final divorce decree or divorce settlement. If divorcing parties cannot come to an agreement on their own regarding the terms of ongoing spousal maintenance, the court will typically step in to make these determinations.

Below, we will be discussing the duration of permanent spousal maintenance.

Factors That Impact the Duration of Spousal Maintenance in Arizona

In general, spousal maintenance in Arizona will end when either the payer or the recipient passes away or when:

  • The recipient remarries or cohabitates with another party – While the remarriage can end spousal support obligations via presentation of the new marriage certificate to the court, to prove cohabitation, it may be necessary to establish that the recipient is receiving financial support from his or her new partner, that the recipient is receiving mail at the same residence as the new partner and/or that the recipient has entered into an exclusive romantic relationship with a new partner.
  • The payer experiences a material change in circumstances – Material changes in circumstances can include (but are by no means limited to) losing a job, having another child, developing a new illness or health impairment, etc. When such changes impact the payer’s financial circumstances, it can be possible to request modifications of spousal maintenance obligations.
Contact a Scottsdale Divorce Attorney at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau

When you need experienced help protecting your rights and interests in an Arizona divorce case, you can rely on Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex cases related to divorce, custody, paternity and other issues.

To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-209-1918or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.

From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.

Client Reviews
Karen is highly respected in the legal community. She is effective and thorough. Karen just keeps going regardless of the odds.
Karen was extremely helpful setting up my petition for conciliation. She is by far the most knowledgeable attorney regarding the necessary paperwork, how to file the petition and where it has to be submitted. She listened intently when I was describing my situation and intentions. She was very responsive to my questions and request. She is trustworthy and diligent . I would recommend her to anyone having marital issues. Mark
Very high customer/client considerate. We found Karen when we were forced to leave another Phoenix lawyer due to his bad advice and lack of interest to help us. We were in Phoenix for six days from Michigan with nothing happening but a high wasted expense. Karen and her firm took us in and solved our issue with the courts etc. in two and a half days. Karen’s professionalism with us was very cost effective/productive. If we would have found her first, we would have saved thousands of dollars. Her interest for us was very high. She returned every call. She knew every answer to our questions. She did this for us with a death in her family. She left for a funeral and made sure we were treated with the same professionalism from her firm to finish up. I recommend Karen and her firm with very high satisfaction. Our case is custody with one parent in prison. We will return to Phoenix someday with interests for the child and his parent, if needed. Karen will be our top choice. Nolan
Karen and Bonita are wonderful!! I know that the word "wonderful" is used a lot, but the team they make and the work they did for me can only be described as WONDERFUL!! Yes there where ups and downs in my case, but that is the system and Karen along with Bonita guided and taught me as "WE" went through it together. Karen’s easy going manner and her knowledge really helped me with the emotional part of my divorce. I used the team of Karen and Bonita both times I needed to go to court with my ex and had results that were best for my little girl. Some times I did not get what I wanted, but it was what my daughter needed. Looking back at my case, I made the right choice and would do it again in a heart beat!! Jim
Karen was extremely supportive during a very trying time in our lives. She helped me to put things in perspective and think positive when I was overwhelmed. She is very knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to grandparents rights and the rights of the parents and knew how to provide the appropriate laws pertaining to the situation we were in. I am so grateful for her expertise and guidance. She proved to be very aggressive when she needed to be but was also supportive to my and my children. I would recommend her to anyone in a similar situation. Deanna