Learn All About Washington State Divorce Laws on Spousal Support

Washington State Divorce Laws on Spousal Support Explained in Detail

Alimony—also referred to as spousal support or maintenance—is a mandatory payment that one spouse has to make to the other after a divorce. The court defines which one of the spouses makes this payment and in which amount. The court also settles other alimony-related issues. If you’re getting a divorce in the Evergreen State, you should check Washington State divorce laws on spousal support. In this article, we provide all the important info on the matter.

Have you agreed on and defined the alimony terms on your own? to put them in a written divorce settlement agreement!

Types of Spousal Support in Washington

The State of Washington recognizes three types of spousal support. Check the following table for further clarification:

Alimony TypeExplanation
Temporary supportCourts sometimes order temporary spousal support during the divorce process. Its purpose is to ensure both parties can cover the necessary costs during the process. This type of support lasts until the judge finalizes the divorce
Long-term maintenanceThis type of alimony is rare and reserved for marriages that lasted for longer periods. It’s available to those spouses who are not able to support themselves due to one of the following factors:
  • Disability
  • Advanced age
  • The lack of skills to find employment
Short-term maintenanceShort-term support is also called rehabilitative maintenance. Courts award this type of alimony if the dependent spouse is able to become independent but needs some time to accomplish that. This is usually the case with spouses who gave up their education and career to support the other spouse and take care of the household and children

Which Factors Are Considered When Determining Alimony in Washington?

Judges in Washington consider several factors when determining the terms of alimony in divorce cases, including the:

  • Financial situation of the spouse seeking spousal support
  • Dependent spouse’s ability to provide for themself
  • Time the spouse seeking support needs to acquire necessary training or education to find employment fitting to their:
    • Skills
    • Interests
    • Qualifications
    • Style of life
    • Previous education
    • Other circumstances
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Dependent spouse’s:
    • Age
    • Physical and mental health
    • Financial obligations
  • Ability of the other spouse (from whom the dependent is seeking support) to meet their needs and financial obligations while paying the alimony

How Does the Length of Marriage Affect Alimony?

Washington divorce court often uses the 25% approach—awarding spousal maintenance for a period equal to approximately a quarter of the marriage’s length. You can find a brief explanation in the table below:

Length of the MarriageHow It Affects Spousal Support
Short—0–5 years of marriageIf the marriage is short-term, the spouse with fewer finances can acquire temporary support to recuperate from the divorce and get back on their feet. The payments usually end after a few months from the divorce or don’t even extend beyond getting a final divorce decree
Mid-length—5–25 years of marriageThe lesser-earning spouse gets alimony for 20–33% of the marriage’s length. Depending on other factors, the initial amount may be enough to cover the dependent spouse’s basic needs or sufficient to equalize the financial positions of the spouses
Long-term—over 25 years of marriageSpousal support acquired after long-term marriages should be enough to balance the spouses’ economic positions for many following years or even for life

Can You Define Terms of Alimony on Your Own?

Yes, you and your spouse can negotiate the terms of spousal support between yourselves. If you can agree on this and other important issues, you might not even need a lawyer. This is called an uncontested divorce.

Besides alimony, to get a friendly divorce, you have to agree on the following matters as well:

  • Custody
  • Child support
  • Parenting time
  • Division of debt
  • Division of marital property

If you want to reach an out-of-court settlement but need help negotiating the terms, you should try mediation.

Here’s what the uncontested divorce process consists of:

  1. Gathering the necessary papers
  2. Making copies of each document
  3. Drawing up a divorce settlement agreement
  4. Filing the uncontested divorce papers with the court
  5. Serving your spouse

Outline Your Spousal Support Terms in a Settlement Agreement Using DoNotPay

It’s a well-known fact that divorces can cost quite a lot. Besides being expensive, ending a marriage can be time-consuming. To avoid all of this, many people resort to uncontested divorces. Having a quickie divorce requires you to make a settlement agreement in which you should lay out the divorce terms you’ve agreed upon with your spouse. This is not an easy task. Luckily, DoNotPay can help!

Here’s what you’ll need to do once you :

  1. Choose the Divorce Settlement Agreement tool
  2. Answer a few questions about your spouse and children
  3. Inform us about your finances
  4. Notify us if you need a notary

We’ll consult your state laws and requirements and make a customized divorce settlement agreement that meets your needs.

That’s not all! We’ll answer all your divorce-related questions, such as:

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