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Marysville Spousal Maintenance

Find Snohomish County Spousal Maintenance Attorneys Near You

Spouses often share life's biggest expenses. When a separation occurs, it can be hard to afford the same expenses on a single income, making divorce a financially challenging time.

Recognizing this hardship, Washington State has created a legal spousal support system to help people through this transition. Its family maintenance laws ensure both partners can maintain a quality of life similar to when they were together.

What Is Spousal Maintenance And Who Qualifies In Washington?

Spousal maintenance, often called alimony, is the legal obligation of one spouse to provide economic support to the other spouse before or after marital separation or divorce. It aims to help the receiving spouse achieve financial independence and maintain a standard of living similar to the one they had during marriage.

Acknowledging that one spouse may have sacrificed their career or education to support the family and should not be financially disadvantaged because of that sacrifice after a divorce, Washington State makes anyone eligible for spousal maintenance, regardless of gender.

As detailed in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW 26.09.090), the criteria for determining eligibility and the amount and duration of maintenance include:

  • The financial resources and property allocated to the spouse seeking maintenance and if they can meet their financial needs on their own
  • The timeframe required for the spouse seeking maintenance to obtain necessary education or career training for suitable employment and their potential future earning capability
  • The standard of living established during your marriage and the feasibility of maintaining a comparable standard after divorce
  • The impact of the marriage's duration on the maintenance amount and period
  • The age, physical, and emotional condition of the partner seeking maintenance and their influence on their financial independence
  • The ability of the paying spouse to support themselves while meeting maintenance obligations, considering their financial resources, income, and commitments

There's no set formula for calculating maintenance in Washington. Instead, the courts base their decision on the needs of the party asking for maintenance and the other party's ability to pay. Snohomish County Family Courts have broad discretion in determining spousal maintenance and evaluate each case on its merits.

Spousal maintenance is typically temporary and designed to be rehabilitative, giving the receiving spouse a period to become self-sufficient. However, in long-term marriages, the court may award maintenance for a longer duration, potentially even for life, especially if the recipient is of an age or in a health condition that significantly limits their ability to become financially independent.

To navigate the specifics of spousal maintenance and assess eligibility, it's often advisable to consult with a Marysville family law attorney for guidance based on the unique circumstances of your case.

How Do You Prove Need For Spousal Maintenance In Snohomish County Courts?

To prove your need for spousal maintenance in Washington courts, you must provide evidence that you require financial support to meet your basic needs or maintain a living standard comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.

The Snohomish County Court considers the factors listed in RCW 26.09.090 to decide. Here are steps you can take to prove your need for spousal maintenance:

1. Document Your Financial Resources And Needs
  • Prepare a detailed financial declaration specifying your current income, expenses, debts, and assets. Washington courts require a financial declaration form that outlines all financial aspects of your life.
  • Obtain evidence of income like pay stubs, tax returns, and other documents showing your and your spouse's income.
  • Document your monthly living expenses, such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, medical expenses, and any costs related to the education or care of children, if applicable.
2. Demonstrate Your Standard Of Living During Your Marriage
  • Provide financial records like bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial documents that show the lifestyle and spending patterns during the marriage.
  • Consider providing personal statements or statements from witnesses describing the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage.
3. Show The Time And Expense Required For Education Or Job Training
  • Provide information on the educational or vocational training programs you plan to enroll in, including the duration and cost of such programs.
  • In some cases, vocational experts can assess and testify regarding your employability, the job market, and the time and training required to obtain employment that would support a comparable standard of living.
4. Offer Evidence Of Your Age, Physical, And Emotional Condition
  • Collect documentation and expert opinions on any physical or mental health issues that impact your ability to become self-sufficient.
  • Provide evidence that age impacts your employability or ability to retrain for employment.
5. Demonstrate The Ability Of The Other Spouse To Pay
  • Provide documentation of your spouse's ability to pay spousal maintenance while meeting their own needs.
  • Show proof of the spouse's income, including salary, bonuses, dividends, and other sources.

Since family courts in Snohomish County assess each family maintenance case individually, an attorney specializing in Washington maintenance can help you prove your need for spousal support to the courts.

What Are The Steps For Filing For Spousal Support In Marysville?

Filing for spousal support with the Snohomish County Family Court is a straightforward process:

  1. Hire An Attorney: A family law attorney can guide you through the legal process, help you gather the necessary evidence, and present your case effectively in court.
  2. File A Petition For Maintenance: Initiate the proceeding by filing a petition for spousal maintenance in the appropriate Washington court.
  3. Discovery Process: Engage in the discovery process, where spouses exchange financial documents and other relevant information.
  4. Court Hearings: Present your evidence and argument at a court hearing or trial, where the judge will decide based on the presented evidence.

It's essential to present a well-organized and comprehensive case to the court, demonstrating the need for financial support and the other party's ability to pay. To make a fair determination regarding spousal maintenance, the court will weigh all these factors.

Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified Or Terminated In Washington?

Yes, in Washington State, spousal maintenance can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. RCW 26.09.170 provides the legal framework for modifying or terminating spousal maintenance orders.

Here are the key points to understand about modifying or terminating spousal maintenance in Washington:

Grounds For Modification Or Termination

Marysville courts require showing a substantial change in either party's financial or personal circumstances not anticipated at the time of the original order. Examples include:

  • A significant increase or decrease in either spouse's income
  • Loss of employment or significant employment change
  • Remarriage of the party receiving maintenance
  • Serious illness or disability affecting one party's ability to pay or the other party's financial needs.

If the party receiving maintenance begins cohabitating with a romantic partner, the court may consider this change in circumstances when determining whether maintenance should be modified or terminated.

What Is The Process For Modification Or Termination Maintenance In Marysville?

The party seeking an order modification or termination must file a motion with the court that issued the original maintenance order, detailing the significant changes in circumstances that justify the modification or termination.

Both parties will likely need to provide updated financial information to the court to demonstrate the change in circumstances that warrants the modification or termination of maintenance.

A hearing where both parties can present evidence and arguments regarding the request for modification or termination of maintenance will be held.

The court will evaluate the evidence in light of the legal standards for modification, after which it will issue an order to grant or deny the motion for modification or termination.

If awarded, the order will specify the new terms of maintenance, including any changes in the amount or duration.

Considerations For Changing Maintenance Agreements In Washington

Temporary modifications are ordered if the change in circumstances is expected to be short-lived. Conversely, an enduring change will call for a permanent modification.

Given the complexity of proving a substantial change in circumstances and navigating the legal process, it is often advisable to seek legal representation. An attorney can help present your case effectively and advocate for your interests.

In some cases, if both parties agree to change the maintenance terms, they can submit their agreement to the court. However, to ensure the modification meets legal standards and is in the interests of justice, it will be subject to approval.

The ability to modify or terminate spousal maintenance ensures that the orders remain fair and equitable over time, reflecting the current circumstances of both parties.

Find The Best Spousal Maintenance Attorney In Marysville

Selecting the right spousal maintenance attorney involves carefully considering their experience, specialization, communication skills, and how well they align with your needs and goals.

Taking the time to choose the right family law attorney impacts your long-term financial well-being post-divorce. In Marysville, our law firm is always here to support you.

With decades of experience in the Snohomish family courts, we know how to fight for what is fair under the law. When you work with us, we'll protect your rights to a fair maintenance agreement.

Contact our Marysville legal team now to protect your financial future.

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