In Washington State, spousal support or as it is sometimes called spousal maintenance, can be awarded as part of a divorce, separation, or invalidity proceeding. Unlike child support, spousal support does not have a formula or direct calculation provided by the State. Instead, it is a flexible tool that is used by the Court, allowing the decision maker, the Judge or Commissioner, to determine how much and for how long support is needed. Each case is different and an examination of the particular circumstances of each party is necessary to determine if spousal support is needed and what is fair.
Generally, spousal support is based on financial and economic factors, not whether one spouse is at fault. The Court will consider many factors when making a determination, including but not limited to; length of the marriage, health and age of the parties, employment history, time needed to acquire education or other training, standard of living, as well as need and ability to pay.
Although the factors will remain the same, the outcome may be different for temporary spousal support as opposed to a final order for spousal support. This is because the parties will have additional information as the case progresses with discovery, and a final division of property will take place.
Keep in mind there are tax implications of both paying and receiving spousal support that have recently changed.