Watch my video on spousal maintenance here.
In a King County divorce (which encompasses both Seattle and Bellevue), there is no magic formula that determines spousal maintenance.
There are a number of factors the court considers and a wide variety of possible outcomes.
Results are determined based upon two considerations:
- The need of the receiving spouse
- The ability of the paying spouse to pay
The idea behind spousal maintenance is that the non-wage earning spouse, or the lower-wage earning spouse, is entitled to receive money for some period of time in order to allow that spouse to get back into the work force or to build an asset base.
Today, it’s not unusual for both people in a marriage to have jobs or careers. In these situations, spousal maintenance is usually awarded to the person in the marriage who is the lower wage earner. Spousal maintenance is no longer awarded based on gender, but on income and ability.
Spousal maintenance awards vary on two levels:
- How much the amount will be
- How long the determined amount will be paid.
Again, this is determined by the need of the recipient and ability of the other spouse to pay.
During the divorce process, it’s not unusual for the court to issue temporary court orders for spousal support. This happens because each person may now live in a different place, and the lower income spouse may need temporary help in keeping current living and child care arrangements stable (for example) until all of the divorce issues are ironed out and final court orders in place. Temporary orders typically are filed and granted during the time between filing for divorce and the time the divorce is actually finalized.
For tax purposes – and this important fact is sometimes overlooked – spousal maintenance is considered taxable income for the person receiving it and a tax deduction for the person making the payment.
There are many factors the court takes into consideration to determine spousal maintenance. Because these factors determine long-range financial arrangements post-divorce, it is always extremely important that you consult with a Seattle or Bellevue-based lawyer who has plenty of experience in court. Your attorney will know how the court is currently dealing with these issues, and she will understand how best to position you in spousal maintenance arguments during the divorce process.
Here at DuBois Cary, we have plenty of experience negotiating spousal maintenence settlements for clients who are thinking about getting a divorce and who live in Seattle or Bellevue. We’d be happy to meet with you and discuss this issue. For a consultation, please call (206) 547-1486.