A former spouse seeking modification of Washington spousal maintenance must generally show a substantial change in circumstances. A former wife recently challenged the denial of her request for modification.
According to the appeals court’s unpublished opinion, the parties married in 1991 and divorced in 2014. The wife was a stay-at-home parent. The husband co-owned two businesses with a partner and had an annual income averaging $598,244 in the three years before the divorce.
The wife sought spousal maintenance. According to a vocational evaluation, she had not worked in over 21 years and needed retraining. It described the effect her multiple chronic medical conditions had on her ability to work. She was qualified for low or unskilled positions, which were generally not appropriate due to her balance and lower back issues. Her medical issues limited the training and work she could do and could require time off beyond the norm. The evaluator also noted the importance of the wife working for an employer large enough to be subject to Family Medical Leave.