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Why does one have to pay alimony to their ex-spouse?

Divorce is a delicate legal process that unties the many binds that connect two people who have been joined together by marital laws. In Washington, a couple may pursue a divorce for the partners to live their lives separately, pursue new relationships and gain their independence. Although, divorce generally allows former spouses to go their separate ways there are a number of factors that can force formerly married people to maintain contact, even after their divorce is finalized.

One major factor that may keep ex-spouses connected is the presence of shared children. But, this post will not address this factor in depth, obligations, such as child support and child custody can require individuals to maintain constant contact to ensure that their children are receiving adequate care.

For individuals without kids or who have children that have left home, alimony can be a factor that maintains a bond between formerly married people. Alimony or spousal support is the payment of money from one partner to the other for an established duration of time to allow the recipient spouse to get back on their feet after their marriage ends.

Not every divorce will result in an alimony award and courts look at many factors before deciding if alimony should be included in an order. A court may consider how long a couple was married and if both of the partners have the capacity to hold gainful employment in the wake of their divorce. Courts can evaluate if one spouse will need education or training to reenter the workforce, or if a party to the divorce suffers from an illness or disability that keeps them from working.

If a court decides that alimony is warranted, it will issue an order that binds one of the parties to the proceedings to pay the other. The failure of a paying spouse to fulfill their obligation can result in sanctions being brought against them. Individuals with further questions about alimony are asked to discuss their inquiries with their family law attorneys.

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