Spousal support can be a very attractive option if you are divorcing and are scared about your financial future. Under these circumstances, you may be wondering whether you are in a position to collect it.
To answer this question, you will need to answer a few others first.
Do you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
If you have a pre- or postnuptial agreement, checking it will be a crucial place to look for answers.
In these contracts, parties often address financial settlements, including payment of spousal support. You can expect the courts to comply with the terms unless one of you contests it on the basis that it is invalid.
How long were you married?
Generally, courts are less willing to award alimony to parties married for less than three years.
Shorter marriages typically don’t affect individual earnings or finances as dramatically as longer marriages, so there may be less need for a maintenance agreement.
What are your financial resources?
One of the primary factors courts consider when it comes to awarding spousal maintenance in Washington is what the financial resources look like for the person seeking support.
So, look at your resources, including:
- Your income
- The divorce settlement
- Your expenses
- Property ownership
- Retirement and investment accounts
Based on this information, it could become clear that you do or do not have sufficient financial resources to support yourself after divorce.
What was your marital lifestyle like?
Another crucial factor that affects maintenance awards involves your marital lifestyle. Some factors to consider include:
- Becoming accustomed to a certain standard of living
- Giving up your career to care for the home or children
- Any sacrifices you made to help your ex further their career
- The occurrence of marital or financial misconduct
These elements will help the courts decide if you should receive support after marriage, as well as how much and how long the payments should be.
Making your case
If you wish to seek spousal support, talk to your attorney about your options. Whether you collect support or negotiate your divorce settlement, finding a fair outcome can help you move forward with confidence.