Spousal Maintenance – What To Expect

Spousal maintenance (also called spousal support or alimony) is a significant issue in many divorces we handle. The experienced attorneys at Meridian Family Law listen to your situation and consider the legal factors to determine if spousal maintenance is appropriate in your divorce, and if so, whether you would be receiving it or paying it. We further can guide you through the process of establishing or contesting spousal support so that the resolution of this issue is equitable. These decisions are based on a legal analysis of each spouse’s financial needs, income and ability to be self-supporting as well as a consideration of the length of the marriage and how the assets/debts are divided.

When Is Spousal Maintenance (Spousal Support) Awarded?

Judges may order temporary spousal maintenance (which usually occurs early during the divorce process) and/or post-decree spousal maintenance (which occurs after the divorce). These are separate decisions based on the parties’ incomes and financial needs and other considerations at the time. For example, receiving or paying temporary maintenance during divorce does not guarantee it will continue to be paid post-divorce.

Because individual clients have unique circumstances, maintenance is not automatically awarded. Rather, whether a spouse receives spousal maintenance depends on a weighing of factors, including whether a spouse has a financial need and the other spouse has the ability to pay maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance – How Long Does This Last?

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that each spouse can meet their financial needs. Sometimes, a spouse receiving maintenance can become financially independent within a few months. Others may need years of financial support while going back to school or obtaining job/career training.

In other cases, the spouse receiving maintenance may never become financially independent due to age, physical health or other factors. Depending on the other facts of the case, if the marriage lasted a long time (25 years or more), the law may allow for longer-term maintenance to equalize the parties’ financial circumstances until retirement age.

How We Can Help You

Our attorneys can help you ensure that the issues involved in your spousal maintenance matters will be duly considered and respected, whether you are seeking a traditional litigated divorce or an alternative like mediation, cooperative divorce or Collaborative law.

Get Started With An Initial Consultation

Meridian Family Law is based in Seattle, and we proudly serve clients in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. If you have questions about divorce, spousal support or any other family law issue, we would be happy to provide case-specific answers and advice during an initial consultation. To schedule yours, you can reach out online or call us at 206-569-5346.