The award of permanent alimony upon a divorce a vinculo, though involving the judicial process, is historically and theoretically dependent upon such power as the legislature of the particular jurisdiction deems fit to confer upon the courts. The Washington court has necessarily recognized this since in every case where the point was raised the court looked to the statutes for its authority. The divorce act now in effect, however, does not confer such power upon the courts! Undoubtedly there have been many awards of alimony since the passage of the present divorce act in 1949, but not under it. Unless the legislature acts in this regard, a difficult situation will arise when the courts' assumed power is one day challenged. The problem can be better understood by a brief study of the history of alimony in this state.
Ramón E. Brown,
Alimony in Washington: A Note to the Legislature,
26 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol26/iss2/5