Questions About Maintenance (Alimony)
Who is entitled to maintenance?
Maintenance (formerly called “alimony”) may be ordered for either spouse in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct.
What criteria does the court use to determine whether to make a maintenance award?
Generally, courts consider the following non-exclusive list of factors in determining maintenance awards:
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party;
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find employment appropriate to his skill, interests, style of life, and other attendant circumstances;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs and financial obligations while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
Can I receive temporary maintenance during the divorce proceeding?
Yes. A party can request temporary maintenance by filing and serving a motion for temporary orders.
What can I do to prevent my husband from hiding assets to avoid paying maintenance?
When a petition is filed and served in King and Snohomish counties, the court automatically imposes a financial order that prevents a party from:
- Transferring, removing, encumbering, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life; and
- Requires them to notify you of any proposed extraordinary expenditures made after the order is issued.
Our marriage was dissolved five years ago. My former spouse has threatened to take me to court to modify the maintenance decree. Is this possible?
Yes, upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances.
Can a divorce decree preclude or limit a modification of maintenance?
Yes, if the preclusion or limitation is specifically provided for under a separation contract and in a divorce decree.
The maintenance provision in my divorce decree does not have a termination date. How long must I pay maintenance?
The obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance, unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree.