Passionate | Experienced | Strategic

How long does spousal support last in Washington?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2023 | Spousal support

The economic conditions of both spouses take one of the hardest hits in a divorce. There are always two sides to this financial debacle – the paying spouse who suddenly must work twice as hard to support two households and the dependent spouse who had long given up a paid career but now has to make ends meet.

Spousal support is available during or after the divorce to keep the dependent spouse financially afloat. While Washington law does not have an exact formula to calculate the spousal support the paying spouse must provide, it looks at relevant factors. Some of these considerations include both spouses’ age and overall wellness, the marriage’s duration and standard of living, the requesting spouse’s financial resources and the length of time needed for the dependent spouse to acquire appropriate skills for employment.

Type of spousal support

Washington courts exercise a great deal of discretion about how long a spousal support award lasts. But it generally depends on the type of support, which may either be:

  • Temporary maintenance: Lasts for the duration of the divorce process
  • Short-term maintenance: Lasts for a specified period when the divorce is final
  • Long-term maintenance: Lasts permanently under extraordinary circumstances, like a disabled or incapacitated dependent spouse

But even permanent spousal support may end if the recipient spouse remarries or becomes involved in any form of domestic partnership, or either spouse dies.

Modifications on the spousal support agreement may also occur if there are substantial changes in either spouse’s circumstances, like the paying spouse losing their job or any other unexpected monetary catastrophes.

Looking out for each other’s financial future

As in all things with money, resolving differences is rarely straightforward. Disputes worsen with considerations regarding your child’s best interests. But it is possible to work on, especially with legal representation building strategic solutions specific to your family’s dynamics.