Arizona Attorney Discusses Perils of Non-Modifiable Spousal Maintenance:
Any spousal maintenance ordered by the Court after a trial or hearing must, by law, be modifiable as to the amount and duration. In other words, no matter what is ordered after the trial, the Court can later revisit the issue, and if there has been a substantial, significant and continuing change in circumstances, the Court can increase or decrease the award, and can increase or decrease the duration of the award, including ending the award altogether.
A.R.S. § 25-319 (c), however, allows parties to reach an agreement that spousal maintenance would not be modifiable, and is set in stone. This is a double edged sword, as the party agreeing to non-modifiable support may later wish to increase what he/she is receiving or decrease what he/she is paying because of future financial changes.
For most payments owed to creditors or former spouses, devastating financial conditions can be remedied by filing for bankruptcy and asking the Bankruptcy Court to reduce or eliminate certain debts. However, since 2005, the Bankruptcy Court cannot discharge spousal maintenance or other domestic support obligations owed to a spouse or former spouse.
Beware of agreeing to non-modifiable spousal maintenance, as none of us can know what the future holds.
If you would like a free telephonic consultation regarding your family law case, please contact McGuire Gardner at (800) 899-2730 or visit us at www.yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com .