Marriages can end for various reasons, and divorce or separation can cause significant financial upheavals for both parties. One of the financial issues that arise in such situations is spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance. It refers to the legal obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to the other after separation or divorce. Spousal support aims to ensure that both spouses can maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce. In Spokane, Washington, the determination of spousal support involves several factors.
Factors That Determine Spousal Support in Spokane
- Washington is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between the spouses. When it comes to spousal support, the court considers the following factors:
- Income and Earning Capacity: The court looks at each spouse’s income, earning capacity, and potential for future earnings. The goal is to ensure that the receiving spouse can maintain a similar standard of living after the divorce.
- Length of Marriage: The longer the marriage, the more likely it is that spousal support will be awarded. However, the court considers the totality of the circumstances and may award spousal support in shorter marriages if warranted.
- Standard of Living During Marriage: The court considers the standard of living established during the marriage and aims to maintain it post-divorce.
- Age and Health: The court considers the age and health of both spouses to determine their ability to earn an income and support themselves.
- Child Custody Arrangements: If the couple has children, the court considers the custody arrangements and their impact on each spouse’s earning capacity.
Financial Resources: The court looks at the financial resources of each spouse, including assets and liabilities.
Types of Spousal Support
Washington law provides for several types of spousal support. These include:
- Temporary Spousal Support: This is awarded during the divorce proceedings and ends once the divorce is final.
- Rehabilitative Spousal Support: This is awarded for a specified period to allow the receiving spouse to obtain education or training to become self-supporting.
- Reimbursement Spousal Support: This is awarded to reimburse the receiving spouse for contributions made during the marriage, such as paying for the other spouse’s education or supporting their career.
- Permanent Spousal Support: This is awarded when the receiving spouse is unable to become self-supporting, usually due to advanced age or disability.
Enforcing Spousal Support Orders in Spokane
Spousal support orders are enforceable by law. If the paying spouse fails to make the required payments, the receiving spouse can seek enforcement through the court system. The court may order the payment of back spousal support, garnish wages, or place a lien on property.