Yakima Spousal Support Lawyer
Spousal support, referred to as spousal maintenance in Washington State, is money paid by one spouse to another in the event of a divorce or the dissolution of a domestic partnership. This is paid after a court-supervised division of assets and property has taken place. A family lawyer knows the steps and actions throughout this process. En Español.
If you have questions about spousal support during or after your divorce, contacting a Yakima spousal support lawyer can help you get the support you need.
Community Property in Yakima
As a community property state, Washington generally follows a specific procedure of dividing property and assets when a marriage or domestic partnership dissolves. Courts in Washington see the property held in a marriage as being held in community, or equally, between the two spouses, and typically divide assets accordingly during the divorce process.
This situation can be changed if, for example, one partner receives a significant inheritance or gift during the marriage, or if one partner possessed significantly more property or higher-valued assets than the other partner before the marriage began. In these or similar cases, the court typically awards maintenance to the spouse with less separate property, or property the court does not deem to be owned equally by both parties.
Alternatively, a couple may establish a signed prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which both spouses stipulate the terms of alimony prior to the divorce, which the court follows when determining spousal support so long as it deems the agreement to be fair.
Length of Spousal Support
The duration of spousal support mostly depends on how long the marriage lasted. If the marriage lasted more than 25 years, the state of Washington can consider it a long-term marriage and award permanent maintenance. If the marriage lasted fewer than 25 years, spousal support typically lasts one year for every three years of marriage.
Spousal maintenance stops automatically when the paying spouse dies, when the receiving spouse dies, or when the receiving spouse gets remarried.
Other Factors Determining Spousal Support
In addition to the length of the marriage, courts also consider various other factors, including:
- The age of the spouses
- The relative education and job skills of each spouse
- The ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay spousal support without jeopardizing themselves
- Requirements for maintaining the standard of living that was established within the marriage itself
In cases where the spouse who is receiving spousal support needs education or training for job opportunities, the court can take the recommended amount of time to achieve those goals into account when setting the duration of spousal support.
Importance of a Yakima Spousal Support Attorney
Because issues of divorce and separation are so complex and cover so many details, it is important that couples going through a divorce or the dissolution of a registered domestic partnership consult with a qualified Yakima spousal support lawyer to determine how best to proceed. Without legal guidance, a spouse may miss out on much-needed financial assistance.
If you are going through a divorce and concerned about paying or receiving maintenance, a Yakima spousal support lawyer can assist you in navigating the court system and ensuring that your needs are properly addressed in divorce proceedings.