Cullum v. Cullum – 6/19/2007

June 27, 2007

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That Superior Court Can Utilize Maricopa County Superior Court’s Spousal Maintenance Guidelines, Provided That The Court’s Maintenance Award Is Consistent With The Factors Set Forth in A.R.S. § 25-319(B).

Michael (“Husband”) and Tamera (“Wife”) Cullum were married for 17 years. In dissolution proceedings, the court determined that Wife qualified for spousal maintenance pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-319(A)(1) and/or (2). After considering the relevant factors in A.R.S. § 25-319(B), the court awarded Wife $500 per month for seventy-two months. In arriving at the duration and amount of maintenance, the court utilized the Maricopa County Superior Court Spousal Maintenance Guidelines (“Guidelines”).

Husband appealed, arguing that the court erred by relying on the Guidelines rather than the factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-319. The Court of Appeals disagreed, and held that the court did not abuse its discretion in determining the maintenance award because it “can apply the Guidelines, provided that the factors the court relies on are consistent with A.R.S. § 25-319.” The Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence in the record to determine that the trial court had indeed considered the statutory factors in its maintenance award. Thus, utilizing the Guidelines to obtain a range of duration and amount was not in error.

Judge Kessler authored the opinion; Judges Portley and Irvine concurred.