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What factors go into determining alimony payments?

Issaquah, WA |
Attorney answers 3


Washington state does not use the term alimony, but maintenance. The factors are clearly set out in RCW 26.09.090:

(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 information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.


It is based on need versus ability to pay and the length of the marriage. I would come up with a list of what it costs to run your household, as well as a list of all assets and debts you and your husband have. Take this to an attorney and ask them what you can reasonably expect.


The Washington statute, RCW 26.09.090 spells out the factors the court is to consider. It is based principally on need versus ability to pay. Those are broad factors. Property division and spousal maintenance are closely related, as they are the 2 tools that the court can use to allow the parties to leave on an equitable basis.

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