If you’re going through a divorce in Washington and your spouse is the primary breadwinner, you may be concerned about where the divorce will leave you financially. What kind of support are you entitled to, and for how long? In this article, we break it down for you.
Types of support
In Washington, you can receive spousal support before you receive your divorce judgment. This type is support is known as temporary support. Once the divorce is final, you’ll be eligible for post-divorce judgment support. The judge will determine, based on your situation, how long this support lasts.
Calculating spousal support
The first factor to consider with respect to spousal support – also known as alimony – is the duration of the marriage. In some states, there is a clear-cut formula to calculate of alimony based on the number of years a marriage lasted. In Washington, it is not so cut and dried. Courts will assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. In general, one year of spousal support is awarded for every three to four years of marriage.
Factors to consider
There are many factors that a court will consider when assessing the spousal support amount and duration, including:
- Each party’s financial resources
- Any education/training required by one party to become self sufficient
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age and condition of each party
- The duration of the marriage
How marriage length is considered
Of the above-mentioned factors, the marriage duration can have an especially significant impact on the determination of spousal support.
- For a marriage that only lasted a few years, spousal support is usually designed to help the lower-earning spouse meet their basic needs for a few months until they can become financially independent.
- For a mid-length marriage lasting less than about 20 years, the spousal support may start off as enough to allow the lesser-earning spouse to live the same lifestyle to which they were accustomed while married. This amount could taper off over time.
- For long-term marriages that lasted more than 20 years, spousal support will usually be designed to help the lesser-earning spouse retain their previous lifestyle for years or, perhaps, even the rest of their life.
Going through a divorce is stressful. But understanding the law can help give you realistic expectations in planning for your future.