In Washington State, the courts refer to alimony as spousal support or maintenance. This alone indicates that a stay-at-home dad could qualify for maintenance.
Washington State seeks to balance the economic circumstances of each party going forward, so they consider certain factors when awarding spousal maintenance.
Length of the marriage
Short-term marriages are less likely to receive spousal support for extended durations, while long-term marriages over 25 years can expect to receive it longer, such as until the parties’ retire.
Returning to school or the workforce
Stay-at-home parents might need to return to school to update their skills or obtain a degree to independently provide for themselves and their children. In this case, it does not matter who the stay-at-home parent is. Additional training or education may be a reason to provide support in marriages of any duration, including shorter marriages. The award may last as long as it takes for the recipient to obtain an education, gain needed skills, or find employment.
The court will sometimes order an unemployed spouse to search for a job. Housewives or househusbands are sometimes at a disadvantage since they probably have not worked in several years. The court usually takes this into consideration, but still expects job search efforts to be made. A party may be expected to take an interim job to supplement their income while also receiving additional training or further education to obtain more permanent employment.
The financial status of each party
The courts consider the financial needs of the potential recipient and the ability to pay of the other spouse to establish an equitable solution to spousal support. If one partner is more financially stable than the other, the courts will often seek to remedy that through maintenance payments.
The age and physical health of each party
If there is a financial disparity due to age, physical or emotional health, the lesser-advantaged spouse might receive spousal maintenance.
In most cases, including those of a stay-at-home dad, the courts will seek to place each party in a stable financial state.