Alimony/Spousal Maintenance

The family courts in Seattle, Washington, will consider awarding “spousal maintenance” (previously called “alimony”) when there is need on the part of one spouse and ability to pay by the other. Maintenance or alimony will not be awarded or withheld as punishment for marital misconduct. Instead, the court awards “spousal maintenance” based on the duration of the marriage. The amount of maintenance and duration depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

At trial, the court has broad discretion to award maintenance or alimony. Under RCW 26.09.090(1), the court may enter a maintenance order for an amount and length of time the court deems just, without regard to misconduct. At trial, the court must give fair consideration of the statutory factors used in determining its award.

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help support a spouse until he or she is able to support himself or herself. For a long-term marriage, the purpose of alimony is to help put the parties on equal footing after the divorce.

Under RCW 26.09.090(1), in a divorce case in the state of Washington, the court may grant a maintenance award for either spouse or domestic partner.

Seattle Alimony Attorney in Washington

If you are interested in learning more about a maintenance award in a divorce case for either a spouse or domestic partner, then contact an experienced family law attorney in Seattle, Washington, at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. We can help you determine what the court might do based on the duration of the marriage, the needs of one spouse, and the ability of the other spouse to pay support.

Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients who have a high income, a high net worth or both. In both contested divorce cases and uncontested divorce cases, we can help you understand the tax and estate planning issues that arise in a divorce involving a request for alimony.

Contact us to schedule a consultation at (206) 712-2756.

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Factors Considered in an Alimony Case

The only limitation on the amount and duration of maintenance under RCW 26.09.090 is that the award must be “just” in light of the factors listed in RCW 26.09.090. The statute includes a non-exclusive list of factors that a court may consider. The factors that a court must consider when determining whether to award alimony include:

  • the financial resources of each party;
  • the time needed by the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire education to obtain employment;
  • the standard of living during the marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the age, condition, and financial obligations of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
  • the ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to meet financial obligations.

On appeal, the appellate court will review a spousal maintenance award for abuse of discretion.

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Additional Resources

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts –  Visit the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) website to view valuable resources on family conflict. You’ll be able to read more information about the organization’s conferences, webinars, and chapter events. AFCC is the premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.

Washington Courts Spousal Support – Visit the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts webpage to view court forms regarding spousal support. You’ll be able to download certain forms including Temporary Family Law Order, Motion for Temporary Family Law Order and Restraining Order, and Notice of Hearing.

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King County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer in Washington

In the State of Washington, individuals going through a divorce will often ask whether alimony will be awarded in the case. Alimony is also called “maintenance” or “spousal support” in Washington.

Although every case is different, the courts consider the financial resources, work experience, earning prospects, age, and standard of living during the marriage when determining spousal maintenance in King County, Washington, in the courtrooms in Seattle and Kent.

Our Seattle Divorce Attorneys represent clients in cases throughout all of King County including Seattle, North Seattle, Greenwood, Greenlake, Ballard, Medina, Lake City Way, North Bend, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, Vashon Island, and Maury Island. We also represent clients in family law cases in the city of Kent, WA, in the heart of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area. Call (206) 712-2756 today to schedule a consultation.

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