Lagniappe (aka Blog)


Man Pays Spousal Maintenance for 35 Years

Posted by Elise Buie | May 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

When two people get married with very unequal incomes and then get divorced, the person who has less income may be left destitute. To counter this, the courts developed the concept of spousal maintenance payments, sometimes called alimony in other states. The partner with more income pays a certain amount to the poorer partner for some amount of time.

The courts have great leeway in how they can structure spousal maintenance payments. Sometimes a lump sum is chosen, and sometimes ongoing payments. Payments can be for a certain amount of time, or they can be permanent. Permanent alimony is becoming rarer, but some are still deeply affected by it.

A man in South Carolina has paid out half a million dollars in spousal maintenance payments over the past 35 years because his ex-wife never remarried or lived with someone for more than three months. That would stop payments under South Carolina law. He was able to get his payments reduced from $1,600 a month to $1,100 a month, but now that he is retired he's afraid he'll have to sell his house to keep up with the payments.

Spousal maintenance can be restructured if circumstances change, especially if payments may leave someone destitute. If you feel trapped by an spousal maintenance agreement that is no longer fair and you live in Washington State, call Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation. We can go over the laws with you and help you consider your options.

About the Author

Elise Buie

Passionate, creative, problem-solving attorney who crafts solutions rather than obstacles. Elise spends significant time educating her clients on healthy communication skills. Elise also ensures that her clients make informed decisions by understanding the future emotional and financial implications of their decisions. Your family's future is our first priority. Elise teaches her clients new skills to empower them in the future as they adjust to the new family structure. While divorce ends a marriage, it is the beginning of your new, often times, more authentic life. Elise will help you begin that new life with new skills to handle any future challenges.


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Elise Buie Family Law Group PLLC
1001 Fourth Avenue, 44th Floor   Seattle, WA 98154