There are several different factors that a judge will consider before deciding whether or not to reduce spousal maintenance payments for a divorced couple in Arizona. It is not uncommon for one spouse to pay the other spousal maintenance, which may also be referred to as spousal support or alimony in other states.

The Value of the Settlement Document

A marital settlement may stipulate that one spouse is responsible for making these payments to the other former spouse. Some of these divorce orders will also stipulate when this spousal maintenance ends. It could be connected to a particular event or a specific day. An example of a triggering event that could lead to spousal maintenance being eliminated is the other spouse getting remarried.

There are certain situations that could also lead to the spousal maintenance amount being reduced. One such example for a modification of an Arizona spousal maintenance award has to do when the paying spouse becomes unemployed or faces a substantial reduction in his or her income. Particular orders might also stipulate that the amount of spousal maintenance cannot be changed under any circumstances, but you should discuss this with your Arizona family attorney so you are knowledgeable about whether your order prohibits you from changing or eliminating spousal maintenance. Knowing what your order says when it goes into effect is important, but an ongoing relationship with an attorney makes it that much easier when you need to change the award, too.

What to Do If You Want to Modify the Order

If you are the party making spousal maintenance payments and you are concerned about modifying the existing award, you will need to demonstrate that there has been a change in circumstances. This could include a disability or illness that prevents you from continuing to work, involuntary job loss, a wage reduction at your job, an increase in the income for the former spouse, remarriage of the supported spouse, or other serious situations.

These circumstances need to be significant enough or the judge may not to grant a reduction. If you plan to request a modification in a spousal support award in in Arizona, it is imperative that you consult with an Arizona family attorney. Understanding the various requirements associated with requesting a change can increase your chances of being successful when you do request modification. Make sure that you have consulted with an Arizona family attorney as soon as you believe that you may have grounds to file for a modification in an existing spousal maintenance order.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding What Are the Grounds for Reducing Spousal Maintenance Payments?, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley