August 2011 Bar Bulletin
Maintenance and Marriage:
The Changing Nature of Support
By Lisa Dufour and Kim Schnuelle
It is likely that you have had a potential client ask you, "How long will my spouse have to support me if we divorce? How much will I receive?"1 If so, you know the answer is not simple and no longer limited to husbands paying money to wives who stayed home with the children for 20 years.
In fact, alimony is not even called alimony anymore, but rather is referred to as maintenance. The statute on maintenance, RCW 26.09.090, states that, where warranted, the court will award maintenance in such a duration and amount that the court deems "just," after consideration of a number of factors.2
The statute provides that the court should consider "all relevant factors," including - but not limited to - the following: