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One of the most contentious issues in a Washington State divorce is whether there will be spousal support and how much it will be. This award is also referred to as alimony or maintenance. If maintenance is ordered, one former spouse will pay to support the other. Understanding how the law addresses maintenance is a key aspect of a divorce.

There are multiple factors that are considered with maintenance. There is no guarantee that the court will order it. The decision hinges on the relevant circumstances of each case. The financial situation of the person who asks for maintenance will be considered. There will have been a standard of living during the marriage. The person receiving maintenance should be able to maintain that standard. The receiving party must be granted sufficient time to gain education or skills to find suitable employment so maintenance will no longer be necessary.

The duration of the marriage will be a factor when deciding if there should be maintenance, how long it will be paid and how much it will be. The age, financial needs, and the emotional and physical condition of the person who asks for maintenance will be weighed during of the process. Finally, the former spouse who is ordered to pay must be able to meet his or her own needs after making the payments.

Dealing with family law issues can be complex. This is especially true if a person is asking for maintenance. To deal with these aspects of family law and divorce, it is wise to have legal advice and protection. From the perspective of the spouse who is seeking maintenance and the spouse who may be asked to pay, an experienced legal professional who understands these matters may be able to provide guidance and help.