In a recent Maricopa County family law case (In re Marriage of Dougall), the former husband appealed a trial court’s order regarding arrearages and the enforcement of a spousal maintenance award. (Spousal maintenance is a general term commonly used in Arizona, which is also known as “alimony” or spousal support”.) The Appellate Court held that the former’s husband’s VA disability benefits should be considered income for determining an arrearages order. Specifically, the Court held that A.R.S. Section 25-530 does not preclude the consideration of service connected disability benefits from determining payment of arrearages on an award of spousal maintenance.
What we learned from McDougall: Always make sure you identify the source of either party’s income. A.R.S. §25-530 only governs a direct award of spousal maintenance or a modification of the same. Depending upon the nature of the action, disability benefits may be considered as income for the purposes of determining arrearages.