Before awarding Washington spousal maintenance, a court must consider certain factors. Those factors include the financial resources of the spouse requesting maintenance; the time it would take that spouse to get the necessary education or training to find appropriate employment; that spouse’s age, physical and emotion conditions, and financial obligations; the established standard of living; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the other spouse to meet their own financial needs and obligations and those of the requesting spouse. RCW 26.09.090(1).
A wife recently challenged a modification of her spousal maintenance after the husband lost his job. The parties were married for nearly 31 years before they divorced in 2017. The husband had reached the level of senior vice president in his career and was earning a gross income of about $20,600 per month plus a discretionary annual bonus of up to half his salary. Their children were adults at the time of the divorce.
The parties agreed to an equal asset division. The wife received the home and some cash and retirement assets, and the husband kept most of the liquid assets. They agreed the husband would pay $6,000 per month in spousal maintenance for five years until he turned 60. He would then pay the wife $3,000 per month until he turned 67. The agreement was intended to give the parties equal financial circumstances until they both could access retirement funds without penalties.