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What does a typical spousal support statute look like?

Each state’s spousal support statutes differ in detail, but a typical statute may read as follows:

Arizona:

Maintenance can be awarded to either spouse, if the spouse seeking maintenance: (1) lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs; or (2) is unable to support him or herself through appropriate employment; or (3) is the custodian of a child whose age and custodian is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home; or (4) lacks earning ability in the labor market to adequately support him or herself; or (5) contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse; or (6) had a marriage of long duration and is of an age which may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to support him or herself. Marital misconduct is not a factor to be considered for maintenance order. The factors to be considered are: (1) the time for the spouse to acquire education and training for suitable employment; (2) the spouse’s future earning capacity; (3) the sponsor’s standard of living during the marriage; (4) the duration of the marriage; (5) the ability of the spouse providing the maintenance to meet his or her needs while providing the maintenance to the other; (6) the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance (including marital property awarded and the spouse’s ability to meet his or her needs independently); (7) any destruction, concealment, fraudulent disposition, or excessive expenditures of jointly-held property; (8) the comparative financial resources of the spouses including their comparative earning capacities; (9) the age of the spouses; (10) the physical and emotional condition of the spouses; (11) the usual occupations of the spouses during the marriage; and (12) the vocation skills of the spouse seeking maintenance.

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated; Title 25, Chapter 319.

California:

The court may award support to either spouse in any amount and for any period of time that the court deems just and reasonable, based on the standard of living achieved during the marriage. The factors considered are: (1) whether the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment; (2) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment, and that spouse’s future earning capacity; (3) the standard of living established during the marriage; (4) the duration of the marriage; (5) the comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market; (6) the needs and obligations of each spouse; (7) the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other spouse; (8) the age and health of the spouses; (9) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (10) the tax consequences to each spouse; (11) the ability of the supporting spouse to pay, taking into account that spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living; (12) the balance of hardships to each party; and (13) any other factor the court deems just and equitable. Marital misconduct is not a factor to be considered in determining the amount of support, except for attempted murder. The goal is specifically to make the supported spouse self-supporting in a reasonable period of time (generally considered to be half the length of the marriage).

[Annotated California Code; Section 4320, 4324, and 4330].