Auburn, WA Alimony Lawyers Tackle Maintenance Issues
Experienced and knowledgeable attorneys protect your financial rights
Across the country, laws governing alimony, or spousal maintenance, have changed to reflect contemporary circumstances. The core purpose of alimony remains the same, however: to ensure that divorce does not unfairly enrich one spouse while causing undue financial hardship to the other. But, since most couples today do not fit the traditional mold, courts look at individual circumstances, disregarding the genders of the parties and applying numerous factors to determine if spousal support (alimony) is appropriate, and if so, how much support is fair and how long payments should last. At Tim Edwards & Associates, P.S., we work toward fair alimony solutions that fit your circumstances and provide the financial security you need now and in the future.
Alimony basics in Washington State
Washington family law formally refers to alimony as spousal maintenance. There are three basic forms of alimony available in Washington:
- spousal maintenance (alimony) — Dependent spouses may be eligible for immediate spousal support after the case has been filed. Temporary maintenance can be ordered so a dependent spouse has the financial ability to survive pending the resolution of their case. In addition to temporary spousal support the court can also award a dependent spouse temporary attorney fees.
- Short-term/rehabilitative alimony — In marriages of short duration where a dependent spouse needs time and/or training to become fully self-supporting, the court can order alimony for a set period of time.
- Long-term/permanent alimony — In marriages of greater duration, and in cases where a dependent spouse cannot be expected to become self-supporting, the court can order spousal maintenance (alimony) for a longer term or even permanently.
The best way to protect your financial rights during your divorce is to retain an experienced lawyer who can perform a complete analysis of your case and make a persuasive, factual argument in your favor.
Applying court factors to arrive at a fair award
Since Washington is a no-fault divorce state, the courts do not consider marital misconduct when deciding spousal maintenance (alimony). Factors the court must consider include:
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance
- The time necessary for the dependent spouse to acquire education or training to find appropriate employment
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the dependent spouse
- The ability of the supporting spouse to pay maintenance
There is no precise mathematical formula a person can use that will predict precisely how a court will decide spousal maintenance in a particular case. For that reason, we often try to negotiate a settlement or reach an agreement through mediation. If negotiation and mediation do not yield positive results, we are confident taking the issue to trial.
Modifying alimony orders in Washington State
When the court issues an alimony order, the supporting party has a legal obligation to pay the full amount in a timely manner. However, there are circumstances that can prompt a modification or termination of the order, including:
- Discovery of fraud or misrepresentation — If either party presented false evidence to the court, or if the couple reached a settlement based on false information, the court can modify the order.
- Significant change in circumstances — If the supporting spouse no longer had the ability to pay, or if the recipient spouse no longer had need of support, the court could modify the amount of the order or terminate maintenance. Courts are generally more open to arguments for lowering alimony orders rather than increasing payments. A supported party who wants an increase in alimony must generally show a change in circumstances that were known at the time of the divorce, such as a medical condition that suddenly got worse.
- Death of either spouse — The obligation to pay alimony terminates automatically when either party dies.
- The supported spouse remarries or enters a domestic partnership — Remarriage or a new domestic partnership usually terminates alimony, but cohabitation does not. However, if the recipient spouse is cohabiting with a supporting partner, the supporting spouse can petition the court to modify the maintenance order.
During divorce and afterwards, Tim Edwards & Associates, P.S. draws on more than 46 years of experience to achieve alimony solutions that protect your financial rights.
Contact a reliable Auburn law firm for your alimony disputes
Tim Edwards & Associates, P.S. practices family law exclusively, so we are highly experienced at handling spousal support (alimony) disputes. If you are dissolving your marriage or dealing with a post-divorce conflict, our attorneys work diligently to deliver positive results. To schedule an appointment at our office located in Auburn, call 253-833-6633 or contact us online.