(425) 771-3600
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Spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony, can trigger volatile arguments in a divorce. Many people view spousal maintenance as a tool by which to punish the transgressions of their spouse, but this is rarely an option any more. Spousal maintenance is determined by need and ability to pay, as opposed to revenge or discipline.

Washington State does not use an official formula to determine maintenance and awards are determined on a case by case basis. In calculating spousal maintenance, the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • Financial situation of both parties now and in the future
  • Value of property each party will own after divorce
  • Future earning potential of each party
  • Ability and length of time it will take for supported spouse to join the job market
  • Health and age of each spouse
  • Length of marriage
  • Lifestyle during marriage
  • Any other relevant factors

Maintenance can also be for a particular duration or purpose. For instance, if one spouse needs to attend training to pursue a career, maintenance might be awarded for the length of time the training takes.

In some ways, maintenance is based on what is available. If there is nothing left after a spouse pays child support, debt obligations, and living expenses, maintenance is not an option.


Spousal maintenance can be modified after the divorce is finalized. If either the payee or payer’s financial situation changes dramatically, the maintenance award can be altered to reflect this change. Divorcing spouses have the option to agree that maintenance will not be modifiable and maintenance awards can also be put into place on a temporary basis.

Understanding Spousal Maintenance with the Help of a Professional

Working with an attorney regarding maintenance issues makes the entire process easier. Not only can an attorney ensure the initial award is fair, he or she can also help with the modification process.

If you have questions about spousal maintenance in Washington State or you are in the midst of divorce and concerned maintenance could be an issue, we can help. The experienced attorneys at Feldman and Lee, P.S. are familiar with Washington spousal maintenance laws and can help you institute an arrangement that is appropriate for your situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in any of our three offices in Kent, Lynwood, or Marysville.

Contact / Office Location

Lynnwood Office
19303 44th Avenue West
Lynnwood, WA 98036
Phone: (425) 771-3600
Fax: (425) 775-8016

Kent Office
604 West Meeker Street
Suite 206
Kent, WA 98032
Phone: (253) 859-2488
Fax: (253) 859-2295

Marysville Office
519 Beach Avenue
Marysville, WA 98270
Phone: (425) 771-3600
Fax: (425) 368-3610