Alimony is money paid by one spouse to another during, or after, a divorce.  In Arizona, the types of alimony are actually called Spousal Maintenance.  Spousal Maintenance is less common than it used to be when it was almost always the case that only one spouse was the main breadwinner of the family. Yet, there are still some cases where Spousal Maintenance is necessary. There are several types of  Spousal Maintenance that are available, depending on the circumstances.

  • Rehabilitative – This is money paid to a spouse in order to assist him or her in preparing to return to the workforce. For example, the person may need support while they go to school to complete their degree. This type of support is provided for a specific period of time.
  • Temporary- Temporary support is money that is paid to a spouse on a short-term basis, sometimes only through the course of the dissolution litigation. The spouse may have a financial hardship or may need living expenses for a short period of time. Temporary alimony has a specific end date. If a longer time-period is required, it must be requested through court.
  • Indefinite – Permanent maintenance is known as indefinite maintenance in Arizona. It is less common. It provides regular payments to one spouse and is usually only ended when a spouse remarries.  However, it is called “indefinite” because the terms (the amount and the duration) can be changed or terminated during the life of the award based on a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. This type of spousal maintenance is most often used in cases where the couple is older and one spouse has not worked through the marriage.

Determining Spousal Maintenance

There are a number of different factors that are considered when determining the type, length, and amount of Spousal Maintenance necessary. There is no set formula because each case is different. Some of the aspects that will be reviewed in consideration of Spousal Maintenance include the length of the marriage, the assets and debts of the couple, their current salaries, the number of minor children they have, the educational background of each spouse, and their ages and health histories. The judge will also review the lifestyle which the couple has become accustomed to during the marriage.

Spousal Support Issues

There are many issues that are associated with Spousal Maintenance. Spousal Maintenance becomes part of the divorce order, so it is a legal arrangement. Most often, support is paid monthly, and there are generally tax implications for both the person receiving Maintenance and the person paying it. Once the support period is over, payments end. Changes to Spousal Maintenance can only be made through the courts. A modification must be ordered by a judge. Making changes to a Spousal Maintenance order in place is often complicated, and requires help from a skilled divorce attorney.


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 Types of Alimony, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts 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.