Seattle Spousal Maintenance and Alimony Attorney
Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, is a court-ordered payment one spouse makes to another to ensure that neither spouse is impoverished during or after a divorce. Whether you are the spouse required to pay alimony or entitled to receive this payment, it’s always advisable to work with an experienced Seattle alimony attorney. While many family law firms in Seattle deal with such issues, Zafiro Law stands out.
Why Zafiro Law?
Experienced, Compassionate Seattle Alimony Attorney
Founded by attorney Katrina Zafiro in 2006, our law firm understands how complex and sensitive the issue of alimony is during and after divorce. You need an attorney or law firm that advocates for your rights during such difficult times, and that’s exactly what we represent. Our services revolve around compassion, respect, excellence, and integrity, to ensure that our clients receive the best possible legal advice and representation for their cases. When you contact us for a case evaluation, we’ll review your case and advise you on the best possible outcome.
If you’re the spouse seeking support, we’ll help you understand what you may be entitled to. We can also help you calculate the amount you’re entitled to, ensuring you know your rights well in advance. If you’re the spouse required to pay support, we’ll also help you understand what you owe and create the best possible strategy that protects your rights and interests.
An Overview of Spousal Maintenance Laws in Washington
Spousal maintenance laws in Washington apply differently from one situation to another. But, in general, here are some of the basic laws you need to know.
In Washington, spousal support can be temporary, short-term, or long-term. The exact type of support you may be required to pay varies depending on the specifics of your case. We’ll discuss that in detail shortly.
One of the most common grounds for spousal support in Washington is if the court establishes these two elements:
- The petitioner’s need for spousal support
- The respondent’s ability to pay spousal support
Therefore, if the court establishes that the petitioner doesn’t need spousal support or the respondent can’t afford spousal support, the judge will most likely deny the request. It’s also important to note that child custody, child support, and parenting time take precedence over spousal support. This means that if both parties can’t agree on these three issues, there won’t be any need to discuss spousal support in the first place.
What Determines if a Spouse Gets Alimony?
Washington judges don’t follow any specific formula when calculating spousal support. However, in most cases, they consider the:
- financial situation of the spouse asking for support;
- time required for the supported spouse to acquire training or education needed to seek employment;
- duration of the marriage;
- supported spouse’s age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligation;
- paying spouse’s ability to remain financially independent while paying spousal support; and
- the cost of living.
How Is Alimony Calculated in Washington?
There’s no formula for calculating alimony in Washington. The court usually considers the factors discussed above before deciding the best possible outcome regarding this issue.
For example, if you are the paying spouse, child support could influence the amount you have to pay the supported spouse as alimony. This is because Washington courts prioritize child support over spousal maintenance.
It’s also important to note that Washington is a community property state, which means that you and your spouse own whatever property you acquired through marriage – fairly and equitably (which does not always mean equally). So, for example, if you bought a house after getting married to each other and then decided to divorce a few months later, Washington laws require that you and your ex-spouse split the property. This could mean reaching an agreement with your spouse over the ownership of the house or selling it and sharing the net proceeds between yourselves but in total consideration of all other properties that need to be divided.
In reality, alimony laws in Washington are vague. The final outcome usually depends on the specifics of the case and each party’s negotiation skills. This further explains why working with an experienced alimony and spousal support attorney in Seattle is important. A Seattle alimony attorney can advocate for your rights during spousal support negotiations, protecting your interests in the process.
How Long Does Alimony Last In Washington State?
As discussed earlier, the exact duration of alimony in Washington state varies depending on whether the court settles for temporary, short-term, or long-term maintenance for the supported spouse. Here’s what to expect from each of these scenarios.
This type of support only applies when the divorce is in progress. It grants one spouse permission to seek financial assistance from the other while the divorce is still in progress.
The court might award short-term alimony to the spouse needing time and support to obtain education or skills required to seek employment or become self-supporting. For instance, if a wife left her career to raise a family while the husband worked and expanded his career, the court might award the wife short-term alimony with a specific end date.
Also known as permanent support, the court might award this type of support if it establishes that the supported spouse can’t become self-supporting. Some of the common reasons for granting spousal support include disability, age, and length of marriage.
When Does Alimony End In Washington State?
In Washington, the exact end date for alimony varies depending on the circumstances of that specific case. However, here are some key things you need to know:
- Temporary support ends when the court finalizes the divorce process
- Short-term support ends when certain requirements are met, such as the supported spouse graduating from college, finding employment, etc.
- Long-term support may run for an indefinite period
In addition, the court will terminate spousal support if the supported spouse remarries or registers a new domestic partnership.
Looking For a Seattle Alimony Attorney?
Alimony laws in Washington are complicated. They often depend on one party’s ability to negotiate with the other. But even as you sit at the negotiating table, you need to understand your rights. That’s where Zafiro Law comes in to provide the legal advice and assistance you need to tackle the issue of spousal support during and after divorce.
If you need an experienced Seattle alimony attorney in King and Snohomish counties, call (206) 309-9645 for a consultation. We serve Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, Shoreline, Renton, Kent, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Redmond, Sammamish, Mountlake Terrace, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Edmonds, and the surrounding areas.