Post-divorce payments to former spouses are one of the hottest button issues in divorce. If you may have to pay or believe you may receive support payments, you likely have many questions. At Envision Family Law, we routinely answer pressing questions for our clients such as:

What’s the difference between alimony, spousal support and maintenance?

Alimony, spousal support and spousal maintenance all refer to the same basic premise. Often, the terms are interchangeable. The technical term in Washington, however, is maintenance. Despite the different terminology, they should be considered the same in all instances unless your attorney tells you otherwise.

Do spousal maintenance payments affect child support?

Spousal support and child support are separate issues. They exist for different reasons and calculated according to different formulae. However, if a parent must pay one type of support, then it stands to reason that they will also have to pay the other. But that link is circumstantial rather than causal.

I was in a domestic partnership; am I eligible for spousal support?

In Washington, if you were in a domestic partnership you may receive spousal maintenance.

How much alimony will I get/have to pay?

The exact amount of each support payment will differ from case to case. The state and the court have a formula that takes into consideration:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • The assets available to each spouse
  • Each spouse’s expenses (including child support)

As well as other factors and creates the payment levels from there. The length of time you pay or receive maintenance payments is also highly individualized.

Can alimony change or stop?

No post-divorce decree is set in stone; when circumstances change, the needs of the individuals demand changes to alimony agreements. If it becomes necessary to stop payments, it can be done. Other changes are also possible, but ultimately pursuing these alterations should be a decision left to you and your representation.