Resolving Spousal Maintenance and Other Issues in a Washington State Divorce Case

By admin / July 19, 2007
By: McKinley Irvin
Category: Divorce

People are surprised by the lack bright line rules in Washington state divorce law. Often clients ask their attorneys, ''How much maintenance do I have to pay?'', ''How much child support will I be assessed?", "How long I will have to pay child support?'' and "how much of my retirement does she get?" Often, their attorney's response will be, "that depends." Indeed, much Washington State divorce law is designed to depend on the individual facts and circumstances of each case in order to reach fair and equitable results. Alimony (or "spousal support" or "maintenance") is money paid by one spouse to another for monthly support. According to Washington state divorce law, maintenance is purely gender neutral. In fact, cases where a wife is ordered to pay maintenance to her husband are becoming more common with women making more money in today's marketplace. There are a few formal factors that courts use to award maintenance in Washington state divorce cases. However, judges are free to use their own judgment after considering the evidence and the circumstances of each case. Spouses who put their own careers on hold during the marriage in order to increase the earning ability of their spouse will have a good case for maintenance. However, just as important are factors involving the ability of the other spouse to pay, the length of the marriage, and need. With the assistance of a Washington state divorce attorney the parties can opt out of court decisions by agreeing to the terms of the divorce by entering into a binding agreement. This can save them emotional stress and high costs of litigation involved in trials. Hence, this would seem to be their preferred option, to resolve the issues among themselves or through mediation. Remember, when negotiating the amount and duration of maintenance, you should consider what support is needed for the receiving spouse to live self sufficiently. Furthermore, when spouses attempt to decide for themselves how they should support each other, things can go much smoother for everyone. However, that is not always possible, given the emotional difficulties of divorce. Furthermore, once orders for maintenance are entered, they can be very difficult to modify. Regardless of whether you and your spouse can negotiate a resolution to complete your divorce on your own or you resort to fighting it out in court, resolution on all issues must be completed before receiving a Washington State divorce decree. For more information on divorce issues, including maintenance, Washington State divorce laws, and mediating a settlement, contact the Washington State divorce attorneys at McKinley Irvin in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, and Federal Way



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