Spousal Maintenance in Spokane County

Spousal maintenance in Spokane County does work differently than in other counties. Some counties in Washington will allow court commissioners to make decisions regarding child support and alimony; some will only allow Superior Court judges to make such decision, even if done in a temporary basis.

All things being equal, you could walk away from your divorce scot-free. If you’re divorcing in Washington State and things aren’t equal, however, the court may order spousal maintenance.

Also known as “alimony,” spousal maintenance consists of mandated payments from the higher-earning spouse to the person who earns less.

The size of the payment depends partly on how many years the couple was married — the fewer the years, the lower the award tends to be — and partly upon the incomes of those divorcing. Other factors include work history and whether or not the person needing support is able to work, including his or her physical and emotional condition.

The wheels of spousal maintenance in Spokane start turning as soon as your attorney files your petition for divorce. The procedure differs among counties in Washington, but in Spokane County a court commissioner will first review your financial declaration and that of your spouse, your tax records and bank statements, and other documents before signing temporary orders establishing payments.

The temporary orders will be in effect for at least 90 days and up to six months, until the divorce trial. The judge presiding over your case will review the court commissioner’s recommendations and either accept or overrule them, perhaps with amendments. Here’s where a good attorney is crucial to obtaining the best arrangement for you.

What a Lawyer Can Do Regarding Spousal Maintenance in Spokane

Perhaps you’ve been ordered to pay your spouse, who hasn’t worked in years and needs training to find work in today’s marketplace. A good lawyer may convince the judge to limit your payments to a specific period — six months, say, or a year — while your spouse takes classes to gain the skills he or she needs to get a job.

Conversely, if you’re the spouse in need of support from someone reluctant to pay, your attorney can argue on your behalf, increasing the chances that you’ll get your due. Did your spouse lose his job before the hearing? That may not have the effect he’d hoped for. Your attorney may convince the judge to “impute” an income to him, looking at his age and work history and his likelihood of finding another job with similar pay.

Conflicts are almost guaranteed. When it comes to spousal maintenance, emotions tend to run high. You may not be able to view your situation objectively, or see the big picture. That’s where your attorney comes in, making sure that you get compensation for the health insurance you’ll lose when the divorce becomes final, while not forgetting to advocate for child support, as well.

An attorney can also see potential problems down the road that you might miss. In one case of mine, a wife of 40 years had no means of supporting herself without her husband’s income. If he were to die and his support payments end, what would she do? We got him to purchase a life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary, guaranteeing she’ll be taken care of no matter what happens to him. RCW 26.09.090 is the statute that outlines the factors required for a party to collect spousal maintenance in Spokane Washington (and all other cities and counties in our state).

Divorce is painful, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your world. If spousal maintenance is an issue in your divorce, call the Quiroga Law Office at (509) 927-3840 or click here and find out what options are available to you. At the Quiroga Law Office, PLLC, we’re your biggest advocate.

Spousal Maintenance in Spokane Written by Sherry Jones (sherry@authorsherryjones.com) with the assistance of the Quiroga Law Office, PLLC.