According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, there were approximately 243,000 alimony (often referred to as spousal maintenance) recipients, of which 98 percent were women. For every marriage that breaks down, real human costs are involved. During the divorce or legal separation process, issues of alimony and spousal maintenance often arise. If you are considering a divorce or currently amidst one and trying to understand your options regarding spousal maintenance arrangements, consulting with an experienced Washington State family law attorney is crucial for detailed guidance.
Attorney William E. Morgan is committed to offering outstanding legal services and comprehensive guidance in family law matters, including divorce and spousal maintenance. Whether you are trying to establish or modify an alimony arrangement, he will explain your options and help you navigate key decisions. As your legal counsel, he will fight compassionately to protect you and your family's best interest and help you through this difficult transition in your life.
William E. Morgan proudly serves clients throughout Grays Harbor County, Washington, and the surrounding communities of Montesano, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, and Pacific County.
Alimony or spousal maintenance is a court-ordered payment that one spouse makes to the other during or after a divorce. The purpose of spousal maintenance payments is to ensure that none of the spouses are left destitute by the divorce, and they have the immediate financial assistance they need to become self-supporting.
There are several types of alimony awarded in Washington, including:
Temporary support is a financial provision awarded to one spouse to help the lower-earning spouse meet financial obligations, such as daily expenses and attorney fees, during the divorce proceedings. Temporary maintenance payments end once the divorce is finalized (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 26.09.060 (b)).
In some circumstances, the dependent spouse needs time and support to complete an education, acquire job skills, or find employment to enable them to become self-supporting. The court may order the other spouse to pay short-term or rehabilitative maintenance during this time. An end date will be included in the decree.
Long-term maintenance requires one spouse to make continuous monthly payments to the other spouse. It is only awarded in rare cases for longer marriages or when a spouse is unable to work due to an advanced age, disability, or critical illness. Such payments will continue indefinitely.
The following factors will be used to determine the type, amount, and duration of spousal maintenance in Washington:
The length of the marriage
The couple's standard of living during the marriage
The financial resources of the spouse requesting maintenance
The current employment status of each spouse
The time required for the supported spouse to acquire the education or skill needed to find employment
The age, emotional, and physical condition of the spouse requesting maintenance
The financial obligations of the spouse seeking maintenance
The ability of the paying spouse to remain financially independent while paying maintenance
In a non-contested or collaborative divorce, the spouses can work together to draw up their own spousal maintenance agreement and submit it to the court for approval which gives them more control over the outcome. Where an agreement cannot be reached, the court will decide the terms of the arrangement.
Pursuant to Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 26.09.170, either spouse can seek for an existing alimony agreement to be modified if they can show that there is a significant "change in circumstances" since the initial decree was made. Reasons that may prompt a change to a current alimony agreement include:
A significant drop in income of the paying spouse
A change in the physical or mental condition of the paying spouse
The supported spouse isn't making any reasonable effort to become self-supporting
The supported spouse no longer needs it
According to Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 26.09.170 (2), the court will terminate an existing spousal maintenance arrangement if the supported spouse remarries, registers a new domestic partnership, or dies.
Divorce and spousal maintenance matters usually involve a lot of complexities. If you are preparing for a divorce or already in the process of one, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable Washington State spousal maintenance attorney immediately to receive proper legal guidance.
Attorney William E. Morgan has devoted his career to handling matters of divorce and alimony. Using his extensive experience, he can help you negotiate the key terms and agreement of the divorce. As your legal counsel, he will work diligently to resolve issues of spousal maintenance between all parties involved. Attorney William E. Morgan can help you determine the best course of action moving forward and help in making your transition from married to single as seamless as possible.
If you are considering divorce and would like to know your options regarding spousal maintenance arrangements, contact William E. Morgan today to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. Attorney William E. Morgan will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy you need during this difficult period in your life. He is proud to serve clients throughout Grays Harbor County, Montesano, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, and Pacific County, WA.