Many of those considering a divorce in Washington State are concerned about alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support. While some are concerned that they will have to pay alimony, others are concerned about whether or not they will receive financial support from their spouse in the wake of a divorce.

In Washington State, a judge will award alimony to a spouse if that spouse does not work of if that spouse earns a significantly lower wage than the other spouse.  Spousal maintenance is meant to make each divorce fair and to help both parties in the divorce maintain a similar way of life after the divorce takes place. Alimony is not meant to be a permanent agreement – payments may stop when the spouse remarried, gains employment, or becomes self-sufficient. Alimony can be awarded to both men and women.

Alimony court decisions are based on:

•    The financial condition and the financial resources of both parties.
•    The length of the marriage (shorter marriages often do not involve alimony).
•    The age and health of the parties (mental, psychological, and physical health).
•    The education, work experience, and earning ability of both parties.
•    The standard of living during the couple’s marriage.

In Washington State, there are no hard and fast rules regarding spousal support – each case is examined on an individual basis and alimony will be determined after considering the couple’s unique characteristics. Both the duration of the alimony payments and the amount of the payments vary considerably depending on the marriage.

Since alimony payments and spousal maintenance agreements vary so much, talk to a Washington State divorce attorney today to get a better idea of what kind of spousal support may be involved in your own divorce case.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington