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When is a spouse entitled to support in Washington?

We previously wrote on this blog about how courts in the state of Washington approach property and debt division. As we noted, courts consider a variety of factors in determining what constitutes a just and equitable outcome in terms of property division.

Alongside property division, another potentially important issue in divorce is spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is very much related to property division, and is decided in a similar way to property division. 

Washington courts, in determining entitlement to maintenance, are primarily concerned with achieving a just outcome, and consider various factors in determining eligibility for maintenance, as well as amounts and periods of time over which spousal support payments are made.

Among the factors courts will consider in making decisions regarding spousal support is the financial resources available to the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him or her, and the spouse’s ability to independently support himself or herself. Entitlement to spousal support is, therefore, tied up with the way the court handled property division.

A financially weaker party who is well compensated in property division is not necessarily going to be entitled to spousal maintenance, though a party may also be entitled to maintenance even if he or she receives a just and equitable outcome in terms of property and debt division. It really depends on the circumstances of the case and what the judge handling the case deems to be just. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced advocate in the process.

In our next post, we’ll look at some of the other factors involved in spousal maintenance determinations.