Understanding spousal maintenance in Washington

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Divorce |

Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, provides financial support after divorce. You can request spousal maintenance if you have concerns about your ability to establish and fund a separate household.

Review the guidelines that apply to spousal maintenance for couples divorcing in Washington state.

Factors in alimony determinations

The judge will consider these factors when deciding whether to approve your alimony request:

  • Whether you have the income and assets to support yourself after the divorce
  • Whether your former spouse can afford to pay alimony while supporting his or her own household
  • Your plans for education and employment training, including the necessary time to become financially independent
  • How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living you shared
  • The age, physical health and emotional well-being of each person

Generally, the financial disclosures you provide must show both your financial need and your spouse’s ability to pay.

Types of alimony

Washington courts may order several different types of alimony:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance, which provides payments from the time of separation until the couple signs the final divorce agreement
  • Short-term spousal maintenance, which provides an opportunity to become self-supporting with payments while you attend school or job training and prepare to return to work
  • Long-term spousal maintenance, which may apply if you had a long marriage and cannot work because of age, disability or caring for other family members

The judge will assign an end date for spousal maintenance, but he or she may review your situation before discontinuing payments. Maintenance will also end if you remarry or if your former spouse dies.