Can you receive spousal maintenance after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Spousal Support

Spousal maintenance can be a financial lifeline for individuals after their divorce. For partners who stayed at home throughout the marriage or earned significantly less money, spousal maintenance could keep them out of poverty.

However, if you receive it, how much you receive and for how long is subject to certain conditions and considerations.

Understanding spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is designed to provide monetary support to a spouse with less income or earning potential than their former partner. Spousal maintenance aims to lessen the economic impact of a divorce on the spouse, who may have been financially dependent during the marriage.

In Washington, there are several factors the courts consider when deciding on spousal maintenance, such as:

  • The financial resources of both parties and the ability of the spouse requesting maintenance to meet their needs
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed during their marriage
  • The duration of the marriage. Longer marriages are more likely to result in spousal maintenance, especially if one spouse was the primary caregiver and homemaker.
  • The age, health and mental condition of the spouse seeking maintenance and the impact those conditions may have on their earning potential
  • The time required for the spouse to receive education or training to find employment

After the divorce, the judge may award short-term or long-term maintenance payments. Short-term maintenance often allows the recipient spouse time to acquire the necessary skills, education or training for employment.

Long-term maintenance may be awarded if the marriage lasted a long time and one spouse can’t become self-supporting. This type of maintenance ends when the recipient spouse remarries, either party dies, or the court decrees otherwise.

While receiving spousal maintenance in Washington isn’t guaranteed, the courts don’t want either party to face financial hardship. If you believe you may be entitled to spousal maintenance, you will want to reach out to someone who can help ensure you receive what’s rightfully yours.