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Spousal Support

Mother and her Baby Do you have questions about spousal support in Washington State or want to understand Washington State alimony more in depth? Our Washington spousal support attorneys can help you understand the laws regarding Washington alimony. We can help you acquire the support you need after a divorce, or even adjust the plan according to your current situation.

Maintenance During a Dissolution Action

RCW 26.09.090 allows for the award of maintenance in a dissolution action. During an action for divorce either party may seek a temporary order of maintenance to help them get by until the divorce is finalized. Fault is not a factor for either the award of temporary maintenance or as a defense from paying temporary maintenance.

An award of temporary maintenance does not dictate whether a continuing award of maintenance will be established at the time the final decree is entered. The court relies on the legal relationship between the parties as a married couple and the inherent mutual duty to support the other when a temporary order is entered.

Generally speaking the court may award temporary maintenance upon a preponderance of the evidence that the requesting spouse is, in fact, in need of maintenance and that the obligor spouse has the ability to pay maintenance. The RCW also lists other factors which the court will look at in determining if temporary maintenance is appropriate in any given case.

Those factors include, but are not limited to, the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the relationship and the age, physical and emotion condition, and financial obligation of the parties. Our Washington spousal support attorneys are experienced in dealing with temporary issues and can help you determine if it is appropriate in your situation.

Maintenance Upon Entry of Final Decree

The “duty” to support your partner ends upon entry of a final decree. However, the court, in its discretion, can enter an award of maintenance in the final decree. Many factors are considered, including need and ability to pay, the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the relationship and the age, physical and emotion condition, and financial obligation of the parties.

The award may be ordered in terms of a monthly payment for a period of time or in any other manner as is within the sound discretion of the trial judge. Maintenance generally becomes the taxable income of the receiving party unless otherwise specified in your final decree.

Our Washington spousal support attorneys are well versed in what the court will look at in determining whether post decree maintenance is warranted in any given case. The court looks at each case separately in determining the amount that is appropriate and how long the obligor spouse should pay. We can review your facts to determine if a maintenance award is proper in your situation.

Modification

In most cases an award of maintenance will terminate upon the death of either party or the remarriage or registration of a new domestic partnership of the receiving party. As a general rule, it may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.

The change in circumstances needed to modify an order must be in the financial status of either of the parties, and proof of this change will be required by the court to even consider a change. The court will analyze the situation as they would when the court first determined if maintenance was appropriate, reviewing the need of the receiving spouse and the ability of the obligor spouse to pay.

Our Spousal Maintenance Lawyers in WA State are Here to Help

In situations where maintenance is awarded due to contract or pre-nuptial agreement, the court does not have the authority to modify without prior agreement of the parties. If you need modifications because your situation has changed, contact our Washington State spousal support lawyers today for help.

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