What is spousal maintenance (alimony)?
Spousal support is financial support provided by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce, separation, or invalidity proceeding. In Washington State, it is commonly referred to as spousal maintenance though it is commonly known as alimony. Unlike child support, there is no formula to determine whether and how long spousal support must be paid.
Will you have to pay spousal maintenance?
If you file for divorce, legal separation, or request your marriage be declared invalid, you have a right to ask for spousal support. The right to, amount, and duration of spousal support is based on a number of factors such as length of the marriage, each spouse’s necessities and financial abilities, economic circumstances, and health and ages.
Generally, the greater the difference in salary and earning potential and the longer the marriage, the more likely spousal support will be ordered. If granted, spousal support is intended to put the couple in roughly equal financial positions, at least until the spouse has sufficient time to obtain a job or acquire training or education to re-enter the workforce.
Spousal maintenance and Property Division
In Washington State, spousal support is a flexible tool that can be used interchangeably with property division in the overall property settlement. Depending on the couple’s economic circumstances and the financial advantages and disadvantages, it may be offset or even replaced with a greater up-front award of property. The reverse is true as well.
Tax and Spousal maintenance
Spousal support, unlike child support and a lump sum payment in a property division, is tax-deductible by the payor and taxable to the recipient. This has important implications in a property settlement.
Call Weintraub Law Office at (425) 374-4045 or contact us online to request an appointment and learn more about spousal support within the context of divorce or legal separation.
Weintraub Law Office has offices in Seattle, Bellevue, and Bothell and represents clients in King, Snohomish, and Pierce County.