Separation or Divorce: In entering a decree of legal separation or dissolution, the court may approve the provision of spousal maintenance for either spouse.
Temporary Alimony: The court may also award temporary maintenance pending the entry of a decree.
Maintenance Awards: Awards must be decided in light of the court's distribution of property and order for child support.
Factors for Awarding Alimony/Maintenance: Washington State law requires the court to consider certain factors in determining whether to award spousal maintenance and what the amount of that award will be.
The primary factor considered by a court in determining a maintenance award is the economic condition in which a legal separation or dissolution leaves the parties.
The court will also consider the duration of the marriage, the spouses' income earning capacities at the time maintenance is requested, the standard of living established during the marriage, the financial resources of the spouse seeking a maintenance award, and the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her financial obligations if a maintenance award is ordered.
Unless the parties agree otherwise, spousal maintenance awards are modifiable upon a showing of a substantial and un-contemplated change of either party's financial circumstances.
Absent agreement, or a specific order in the decree, a spouse's obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either of the parties or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance.
There is no precise mathematical formula that can be used to predict how a court will decide in an action involving a claim for alimony/spousal maintenance. As with most disputes arising out of a legal separation or dissolution action, disputes over requests for alimony/spousal maintenance may be mediated whereby the parties may formulate an agreement for future alimony payments.
I represent clients in a wide range of family law matters, including legal separation and divorce cases involving claims for alimony or spousal maintenance.
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