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Spousal Maintenance in Washington State

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2014 | Divorce |

Spousal Maintenance: Financial resources

The court should consider “the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him or her, and his or her ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party.” RCW 26.09.090(1)(a). “In considering a party’s future earnings capacity, a trial court may consider the health, age, vocational training and work history of the party.” In re Marriage of Rockwell, 141 Wn. App. 235, 248, 170 P.3d 572 (2007).


Spousal Maintenance: Educational Goals

The court should also consider “The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find employment appropriate to his or her skill, interests, style of life, and other attendant circumstances.” RCW 26.09.090.(1)(b).


Spousal Maintenance: Standard of Living

Another consideration is “The standard of living established during the marriage or domestic partnership.” RCW 26.09.090(1)(c)


Spousal Maintenance: Duration of the Marriage or Domestic Partnership

Another factor is “The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership.” RCW 26.09.090(1)(d).


Spousal Maintenance: Age, Physical and Emotional Condition, and Financial Obligations

The court also considers “The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the spouse or domestic partner seeking maintenance.” RCW 26.09.090(1)(e). A demonstrated capacity for self-support does not automatically preclude an award of maintenance. In re Marriage of Washburn, 101 Wn. 2d 168, 178-79, 677 P.2d 152 (1984).


Spousal Maintenance: Ability to Pay

Finally, the Court should look at “The ability of the spouse or domestic partner from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs and financial obligations while meeting those of the spouse or domestic partner seeking maintenance.” RCW 26.09.090(1)(f). Any award of maintenance should be based on the need of the requesting party, verses the ability to pay by the other spouse. See e.g., In re Marriage of Foley, 84 Wn. App. 839, 930 P2d 929 (1997).


Spousal Maintenance: Other Factors

The Court can also consider factors other than those listed in the statute, such as “their necessities and financial abilities, [and] their foreseeable future acquisitions and obligations….” In re Marriage of Olivares, 69 Wn. App. 324, 329, 848 P.2d 1281 (1993).



DISCLAIMER: This AVVO Legal Guide is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney author. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Legal Guide is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances in your situation. The applicable law may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive solution to your situation you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. (C) Bruce Clement