Maintenance means payment of monies for the support of the other spouse. It is also known as alimony or spousal support. Unlike child support, there is no schedule of maintenance. A variety of factors are considered under RCW 26.09.090 as follows:

(1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, declaration of invalidity, or in a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage or domestic partnership by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or absent domestic partner, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse or either domestic partner. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to misconduct, after considering all relevant factors including but not limited to:

(a) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including separate or community property apportioned to him or her, and his or her ability to meet his or her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party;
(b) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find employment appropriate to his or her skill, interests, style of life, and other attendant circumstances;
(c) The standard of living established during the marriage or domestic partnership;
(d) The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;
(e) The age, physical and emotional condition, and financial obligations of the spouse or domestic partner seeking maintenance; and
(f) The ability of the spouse or domestic partner from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs and financial obligations while meeting those of the spouse or domestic partner seeking maintenance.

The court has great flexibility in awarding maintenance. “The trial court may properly consider the property division when determining maintenance, and may consider maintenance in making an equitable division of the property.” In re Marriage of Estes, 84 Wn. App. 586, 593, 929 P.2d 500 (1997).

There are many other cases interpreting the maintenance statute. The topic is far too complicated to be summarized here. Maintenance cases are often very complicated. Each case is different and no generalizations can be made as to the length or amount of maintenance. Competent legal counsel should be obtained early in the case.