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Rainwater v. Rainwater

Arizona Court of Appeals
869 P.2d 176 (1993)


Facts

Barbara Rainwater (plaintiff) filed for divorce against her husband Sam Rainwater (defendant) in 1988 after 22 years of marriage. At the time, Barbara was 41 years old, working as a secretary, and had an estimated annual income of $20,000. Barbara worked outside the home full time during the marriage, but also maintained the home and was primary caretaker for the parties’ two children, who were grown at the time of divorce. Barbara had helped support Sam while he earned his engineering degree. Sam’s income rose substantially after receiving his degree, and for two years prior to the divorce, his income exceeded $100,000. All other issues were resolved by stipulation, and the only issue at trial was appropriate spousal maintenance for Barbara. The trial court determined Barbara’s reasonable needs to be $41,000 per year based on her standard of living during the marriage and, therefore, awarded her maintenance in the amount of $1,900 per month for the earlier of three years or one year after she received her degree, and $1,200 per month thereafter until her death or remarriage. Sam appealed the duration and amount of the award, arguing that public policy limited maintenance awards to a fixed term in order to assist the receiving spouse in rehabilitation and the transition to an independent life.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Fidel, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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