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Here’s what a court will consider when addressing alimony

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Firm News

A lot of people are worried about their financial stability post-divorce. It can be hard enough moving from two incomes to one, but your financial health can take an even bigger hit through the property division process. This may be especially true if you’ve made significant sacrifices during your marriage that put you at a distinct financial disadvantage.

Fortunately, you may be able to successfully seek spousal support to help alleviate the burden. In order to do so, though, you’ll either have to negotiate it as part of your divorce settlement, or you’ll have to litigate the issue in front of a judge.

Factors that affect a spousal support determination

Regardless of which route you take, you need to be prepared as if you’re going to make your claim before the court. This means knowing the factors that the court will consider when addressing alimony and presenting evidence that speaks to each of them. Under Washington law, the court is required to consider all factors that are relevant, which includes each of the following:

  • Each party’s financial resources: Here, the court will consider each party’s individually owned property that will be kept post-divorce as well as how the property division process will position each of them. In short, the court will be determining each party’s ability to be self-sufficient post-divorce.
  • Time needed: A spouse who has made sacrifices during a marriage will need time to obtain training or education to reenter the workforce. So, this factor will be a significant contributor when a court determines the length of a spousal support obligation.
  • The marital standard of living: The court aims to provide each party with the resources that it needs to enjoy the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but the court will try to get each party as close to that standard as possible. Therefore, the court will assess everything from your residence, vehicles, vacations, and acquired personal property to determine what that marital standard of living looked like.
  • The seeking spouse’s condition: A court will also analyze the physical, mental, and emotional health of the party who seeks support. Obviously, a spouse with diminished physical or mental capabilities will be less likely to be self-sufficient, thereby justifying an award of alimony. So, here your medical records may help support your position.
  • The paying spouse’s ability to pay: Another factor that the court has to consider is the paying spouse’s ability to meet his or her own financial obligations while paying spousal support. It’s important here to ensure that you have a clear picture of your spouse’s financial standing to prevent him or her from inflating debt obligations or under reporting income. Your attorney can help you address this.
  • The length of the marriage: Spousal support is much more likely to be ordered when a marriage has lasted for a significant period of time, and those support orders are more likely to be long-term. So, don’t overlook the importance of this factor.

Confidently navigate your spousal support dispute

Spousal support can be a hotly contested issue, but it’s one that can have tremendous ramifications for your financial future. With that in mind, it’s imperative that you build the compelling legal arguments that you need to position yourself for success.

We realize that’s easier said than done, especially when you don’t have any experience in this area of the law. Don’t worry, though. Skilled family law professionals like those at our firm stand ready to advocate for you throughout the process so that you can increase your chances of obtaining the fair outcome that you deserve.