Spousal support in Washington state is the court-ordered payment from one spouse to the dependent spouse for a given period. It can be part of a divorce or legal separation as deemed fit by the court. Sometimes it is called “spousal maintenance”.
Types of Spousal Support in Washington
There are several types of spousal support in Washington state. Examples include:
This type of spousal support is meant to sustain one spouse during the divorce proceedings. For example, suppose one spouse is able to prove to the court that they have a need for spousal support and is also able to prove that the other spouse has the ability to pay for their need, the court can enter an order for temporary spousal support for a limited period or until the divorce is final.
This is because it can take up to a year for the finalization of a divorce case. So if one spouse is worried about how they will pay their bills during a divorce or legal separation, they can apply for temporary support.
But if you’re the one paying temporary support, you can be more proactive in taking steps to finalizing your divorce sooner to avoid a prolonged period of temporary support.
Suppose the more dependent spouse is committed to a school program or an employment training program that will generate income after a certain period. In that case, the court can award rehabilitative support to the more dependent spouse to continue with the program during or after finalizing the divorce.
This type of spousal support in Washington state is straightforward and is not as contested as the others. It requires the more financially stable spouse to pay spousal support to the other spouse unable to support themselves financially due to physical or mental disability.
Even so, the court considers several factors before settling on a given amount as disability support. They include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Disability severity
- Age of both spouses
- Financial position of the other spouse
Spousal Support in Washington State in Short-Term Marriages
In Washington, short-term marriages are marriage unions that have only lasted for less than five years. In such cases, there is very little chance of the court awarding long-term spousal support to one spouse. But it may still award temporary support to one spouse while the divorce is pending.
Spousal Support in Medium-Term Marriages
Medium-term marriages fall into the category of marriages that have lasted between five to 24 years. It’s difficult to determine if one party will be awarded spousal support in Washington state because there are no clear patterns on how the court will arrive at a particular decision.
Spousal Support in Long-Term Marriages
Long-term marriages are marriages that have lasted 25 years or longer. Both parties are considered financially equal partners, and the court will try to place them at an equal financial position for the rest of their lives. Thus, the division of property for such marriages is likely to be 50/50 and the incomes equalized by awarding long-term spousal support to the more dependent spouse.
How Can You Calculate Spousal Support in Washington State?
There are no set formulas on how to calculate spousal support in the state of Washington. The state only provides guidelines, but there’s no specific law or spousal support calculator to determine the amount of spousal support in any given case.
For instance, the court may decide to award the more dependent spouse one year of spousal support for every three or four years of marriage.
How ZafiroLaw Can Help
Paying or receiving spousal support can have a significant impact on your finances and economic well-being. For this reason, it’s imperative that you seek the best legal representation during your divorce or legal separation case to secure your best interests in the outcome of the case.
This is where ZafiroLaw comes in handy. Our team of experienced family law attorneys provide legal representation for residents of Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, Shoreline, Renton, Kent and other cities within King and Snohomish counties. Get in touch with us at 206-547-9906 or contact us online today for the best legal representation in the Pacific Northwest!