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Understanding alimony determination in a Washington divorce

On Behalf of | May 3, 2023 | Spousal Maintenance

When a marriage ends in Washington State, one of the most challenging issues to resolve is the division of property and finances. This includes alimony payments. 

If you believe you are due alimony or may have to pay it, it is essential to understand how these decisions are made. 

Understanding the factors determining alimony can help you know and protect your rights. 

Factors that impact alimony payments

In Washington, the determination of alimony is based on several factors, including the duration of the marriage, the financial needs and earning capacity of each spouse and the standard of living established during the marriage. Additionally, the court considers the age and health of the parties, the property and debts they hold and any existing agreements between them.

The court’s primary objective is to ensure that both parties can maintain the same standard of living they had before the divorce, at least to some degree. To achieve this, the court may award either temporary or permanent alimony.

Temporary alimony

Temporary alimony is awarded for a limited period, usually during the divorce proceedings. It provides a spouse with financial support until the divorce is finalized, and they can establish themselves independently. The amount of temporary alimony is based on the requesting spouse’s financial needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Permanent alimony

On the other hand, permanent alimony is awarded after the divorce and can continue indefinitely. It is typically awarded in cases where one spouse cannot reasonably support themselves, such as when one spouse has been out of the workforce for a long time. In such cases, the court will consider factors such as the receiving spouse’s age, health and ability to earn a living.

Divorce is a complex process. Understanding alimony and how it works will help you know your responsibilities and rights.