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About Maintenance


Maintenance means payment of monies for the support of the other spouse. In other states this is known as alimony. There is no schedule of maintenance in Washington state. The statute provides the court with a wide range of discretion in setting maintenance. A variety of factors are considered under the statute, including length of the marriage and health of the parties. Case law has stated that the primary concern of the court is to determine what financial position the parties will be left in after the divorce is finished.

The traditional method of viewing maintenance was to rehabilitate the party requiring maintenance so that they could be put into a position where they can support themselves. To do this, the court often referred to the length of the marriage as a key factor. Short term marriages would require little or no maintenance. Middle term marriages would require some maintenance, and long term marriages would often require permanent maintenance.

The Court of Appeals, and in particular, Division I, has taken a more progressive approach and has stated that the primary function of maintenance is not rehabilitation, but equalization of the income of the parties. When this analysis is applied it often results in longer periods of maintenance.

Another consideration is that the court may order less maintenance, but relieve the spouse of paying community debt. Or, the court may award most of the liquid assets to one spouse giving them the opportunity to invest and create a stream of income for themselves, while the other spouse receives illiquid assets that have value but cannot generate cash. Because of the great deal of discretion given to the court in deciding maintenance, it is difficult to predict exactly how the court will fashion relief. In the end, all of the statutory factors must be considered and argued. Each case is different, and no generalizations can be made as to the length or amount of maintenance that may be ordered.




Gouras & Amis PLLC is a family law firm that practices exclusively in the area of family law. Gouras & Amis attorneys have over 25 years experience in both settling and litigating family law cases.

To schedule a consultation appointment
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Gouras & Amis PLLC
Family Law Attorneys
Emphasizing difficult Family Law cases in the greater
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area

Creekside at Centerpoint
Building One
20415 72nd Ave. S.,
Suite 420
Kent, Washington 98032

Phone (253) 395-5552 Fax (253) 395-1022

Top 100 Lawyers for Matrimonial and Family Law.
Who's Who in American Law
2000 — 2011

American Society of Legal Advocates
Top 100 Family Law Attorney Award