Monday, October 13, 2014

What is Spousal Maintenance?

A request for spousal maintenance, sometimes referred to as spousal support or alimony, is often a part of a dissolution or legal separation proceeding. In Washington, spousal maintenance is meant to rehabilitative, and is rarely ordered for the lifetime of a party. Because Washington is a no-fault dissolution state, marital misconduct is not a basis to include or exclude maintenance.

In analyzing whether to award maintenance, the court will consider factors such as:
  • the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including property to be awarded;
  • the ability of the party seeking maintenance to be self-sufficient without assistance;
  • the time and education needed by the party seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient;
  • the standard of living established during the marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the age, physical and emotional condition and financial obligations of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
  • the ability of the spouse from whom the maintenance is sought to meet his own needs and obligations while paying maintenance.
These factors are non-exclusive, so the court may consider other facts in the case. As a general rule, in the case of a short term marriage, the court will seek to put the parties in the same financial position that they came to the marriage in. In the case of a long term marriage (25 years+), the court will look forward to place the spouses in a similar economic position for the rest of their lives.

Dealing with divorce can be a daunting task, and if you or your spouse is requesting spousal maintenance, it is best to seek legal help regarding your rights and the law. If you are interested in learning more about spousal support, please schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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Rachel Luke is a attorney in the Bellevue office of Wong Fleming. Ms. Luke practices family law and represents clients on divorces, custody issues, parenting plans, child support, and more.

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1 comment:

  1. Ok, this makes more sense now. I was in a court hearing for my cousin to provide moral support. They mentioned this term and I just nodded like I knew what they were talking about, but I had no idea. I'm glad I know now, thank you.