Fault versus No Fault, and When Fault Matters


When a marriage disintegrates, both spouses need closure. For some people, this means that he or she will want a court to declare that the other spouse is at fault for the break-down of the marriage. Unfortunately for these people, Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that a spouse does not need to allege that either person is responsible for the marriage falling apart. Instead, all that must be Read More

LGBT Divorce and How Issues are Different and Similar

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the landmark decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to recognize same-sex marriages.  This means that no state may deny a same-sex couple the right to marry.  Along with same-sex marriage, however, also comes same-sex divorce.  Same-sex divorces have some of the same issues as heterosexual Read More

What if I Cannot Meet My Financial Obligations Under My Divorce Decree?

At the end of every divorce, a decree of dissolution of marriage will be entered with the court, i.e., a divorce decree.  This decree is a court order which sets out the rights and responsibilities for you and your spouse in terms of the following: Division of assets, debts, and personal property; Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Washington); and Miscellaneous issues. Also, a child support order Read More

What’s Worth Fighting Over

Emotions run high in divorces and custody cases.  A situation that otherwise would have been resolved quickly and amicably can quickly turn hostile when spouses get angry and resentful, as can so often happen during a family law case.  Spouses often have the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to “win” the divorce case by fighting to be awarded as much property or visitation as possible, but the plain truth is that not Read More

No Fault Divorce When One Party is in the Wrong

Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that the only ground that will be used to grant a divorce is a determination that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  This does simplify divorce proceedings in that it is no longer necessary to produce proof that one of the spouses is responsible for the disintegration of the spouses’ relationship and marriage. To a wronged spouse, this may not always feel Read More

Modification of an Award of Spousal Support

Spousal support (referred to as spousal maintenance in Washington, and not alimony), may be awarded at the end of a divorce to a spouse in financial need, after consideration of a number of other factors. However, it is quite common for the financial situations of one or both spouses to change after the divorce. If this is the case, it may be necessary to return to court to modify the divorce decree to reflect the Read More

Special Challenges in Divorce for Parties Over 50

Divorce for people over 50 is on the rise. Sometimes called “gray divorce” or “silver divorce,” dissolution of marriage between two people over the age of 50 is not nearly as rare as it used to be. These types of divorces can present some special circumstances that aren’t usually at issue in a divorce of a younger couple. Spousal support (referred to as spousal maintenance, and not alimony, in Washington) is the Read More

Types of Spousal Maintenance and When They Are Available

In Washington, "alimony" is referred to as "spousal maintenance" or simply "maintenance."  Spousal maintenance is designed to help the economically disadvantaged spouse after the divorce. Because Washington is a no-fault state, it is irrelevant which spouse was the cause of the divorce. Instead, Washington courts will look to a variety of factors when deciding whether maintenance is appropriate. These factors Read More