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Kent Alimony

Get Legal Counsel From Our Expert Kent Alimony Attorneys

Facing a divorce in Kent, Washington is a harrowing experience, especially when your financial future seems uncertain. As dedicated spousal maintenance attorneys in this community, we know how intimidating it can feel to worry about your financial security during such a turbulent time. That's why we're here to help guide you toward a fair resolution. Our expertise and compassionate approach mean we're committed to ensuring you receive the support you need to move forward confidently. Let us help you secure the financial stability you deserve during and after your divorce.

Who Is Entitled To Receive Alimony?

In Washington State, courts award alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, based on the specific circumstances of each case. State law does not automatically entitle either spouse to alimony upon divorce. Instead, the court considers multiple factors to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, including the amount and the duration of payments, as outlined in (RCW) 26.09.090.

Key considerations under RCW 26.09.090 include:

  • Financial Resources Of The Party Seeking Maintenance: Financial resources include the spouse's ability to meet their needs independently, considering the division of marital property and child support receipt, if applicable.
  • Time Necessary To Acquire Sufficient Education Or Training: The court looks at when the spouse seeking maintenance might need the education or training necessary to find employment.
  • Standard Of Living Established During The Marriage: The spouse's lifestyle during the marriage sets a benchmark for what the court considers reasonable for each party post-divorce.
  • Duration Of The Marriage: Longer marriages may lead to longer or more substantial maintenance orders, particularly if one spouse has significantly fewer career prospects due to time spent out of the workforce.
  • Age, Physical, And Emotional Condition: These personal factors can affect an individual's earning capacity and need for support.
  • The Ability Of The Maintenance-Paying Spouse To Meet Their Needs While Making Maintenance Payments: The court assesses whether the paying spouse can support themselves while providing alimony.

The court aims to achieve a fair financial balance post-divorce by awarding spousal maintenance, enabling both parties to sustain a standard of living similar to that experienced during the marriage as much as possible. Because each case is unique, the court carefully judges these determinations.

What Are The Types Of Alimony In Washington?

In Washington State, alimony or spousal maintenance can vary significantly depending on the specifics of each case. This is because the courts have broad discretion, allowing them to tailor maintenance orders to the specific needs and situations of the divorcing parties. Spousal maintenance awarded can be categorized into three main types:

Temporary Maintenance

During the divorce proceedings, courts award this type of maintenance to support the lower-earning or non-earning spouse until the divorce is finalized. It helps the recipient manage living expenses and legal costs associated with the divorce process. The legal basis for temporary maintenance is to ensure that the spouse, who may not have access to financial resources, can maintain a reasonable standard of living while the divorce is pending.

Short-Term (Rehabilitative) Maintenance

Short-term or rehabilitative maintenance aims to support a spouse in becoming financially independent after the divorce. Courts often award this type of maintenance when one spouse requires time to acquire job skills, education, or work experience to successfully re-enter the workforce and support themselves. The duration of rehabilitative maintenance is typically set for a specific period, enough for the recipient to complete education or training programs and secure employment.

Long-Term Or Permanent Maintenance

In cases where the marriage endured for a considerable duration and a significant discrepancy in earning capacities between the spouses exists, courts may award long-term or permanent maintenance. Permanent maintenance is more common in long-term marriages where one spouse may not be able to become fully self-supporting due to age, health conditions, or prolonged absence from the workforce. It's important to note that permanent maintenance is the least common type, and awards can be adjusted if either spouse experiences significant changes in their financial situation.

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 26.09.090 directs courts to make equitable decisions regarding spousal maintenance. It outlines multiple factors that affect the determination of spousal maintenance type, amount, and duration. These include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marital period, and the ages and health statuses of the parties, along with their financial resources and earning potentials.

How Much Alimony Does Spouses Have To Pay?

To decide on a fair and equitable amount of alimony or spousal maintenance, the court considers various factors under each case's circumstances rather than a fixed formula. The decision is highly discretionary and aims to balance both parties' financial needs and abilities post-divorce.

The key factors when determining the amount of spousal maintenance include:

  • The maintenance of financial resources, including current income, assets, and property division from the divorce settlement
  • The party's ability to meet their own needs independently, including potential future earning capacity
  • The time required for education or training to gain suitable employment and achieve self-sufficiency
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The marriage's duration
  • The ability of the party seeking maintenance to meet their needs while paying maintenance, preventing undue burden on the payer

The court aims to facilitate a fair and equitable transition to post-divorce life for both parties, ideally maintaining a standard of living similar to that experienced during the marriage within reasonable means.

Since there isn't a specific formula, the extent and duration of spousal maintenance can vary considerably from case to case. Legal representation can assist individuals in navigating these complexities by presenting a comprehensive financial picture and advocating for a fair maintenance award based on their needs and the other party's financial capacity.

What If My Spouse Disagrees About The Amount Of Alimony?

In Washington State, if your spouse disagrees with the amount of alimony (spousal maintenance), you can take several steps to resolve the dispute. Remember that it’s important to approach this process with the understanding that negotiation, mediation, or court intervention may be necessary to arrive at a fair resolution.

Initially, both parties may attempt to negotiate directly or with the assistance of their attorneys to reach an agreement on the amount of spousal maintenance. This process allows flexibility and personal input from both spouses and can result in a mutually agreeable solution without court intervention.

However, if direct negotiation proves unsuccessful, the parties may turn to mediation as an alternative. During mediation, an impartial third party known as a mediator aids in exploring creative solutions that courts may overlook and assists in facilitating communication and negotiation between the spouses while refraining from making decisions. The process aims to reach a fair agreement that addresses the needs and capabilities of both parties.

Suppose negotiation and mediation do not result in an agreement. In that case, the dispute will likely proceed to court, where a judge will nominate a date based on the factors outlined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 26.09.090. These considerations comprise the financial assets of both parties, the lifestyle maintained during the marriage, the duration of the marital union, and each party's capability to independently sustain themselves while potentially extending assistance to the other.

Preparing for a court hearing on spousal maintenance involves gathering comprehensive financial documents, including income statements, living expenses, assets, liabilities, and any factors that impact earning capacity or financial need. Both parties can present their case and any arguments regarding the necessity, amount, and duration of spousal maintenance.

After carefully considering the evidence and arguments presented by both parties, the court will issue a fair and equitable maintenance order. This order will take into account the financial needs of the party seeking support and the other party's ability to pay. The court's legally binding decree will specify the amount and duration of the maintenance payments.

If one party believes the court's decision relied on incorrect legal principles or factual errors, they may appeal it to a higher court. However, appeals are generally limited to reviewing the legal process and decisions made by the lower court rather than re-evaluating the facts of the case.

Navigating spousal maintenance disputes can be complex and emotionally challenging. Obtaining professional legal advice and representation can be essential in effectively advocating your case and attaining a just outcome.

Skilled Spousal Maintenance Attorneys Are On Your Side

We understand your challenges and the importance of securing your financial future during this pivotal time. Backed by extensive experience navigating King County courts, our Kent legal team is here to protect your interests and fight for the fair treatment you deserve. Don't go through this process alone. Reach out to us today for a consultation, and let's work together to ensure you receive the support necessary to move forward with confidence. Your path to financial stability and peace of mind starts here.

Client Reviews
Laurie has worked on my very challenging and contentious divorce and I could not have asked for a better family law attorney. She was able to handle all of the twists and turns of my case with ease. I highly recommend Laurie to anyone looking for an excellent, ethical and hard working counselor. Chandler
Laurie is an incredible divorce lawyer! She did an amazing job with my divorce, and it was a real dog fight the whole way. She is a true fighter. And you can tell that she really cares about her family law clients and the results that she achieves for them. John
My lawyer guided me through a very challenging time in my life when I was going through my divorce. She worked hard and explained every step of the way what was going on so I could understand the process. I was very happy with her work. Barbel