While every case is different, there are always a number of deciding factors that go into determining spousal support. In Virginia, alimony is not required by law but can be agreed on by the parties involved or requested by a judge. Because divorce proceedings can become fervently disputed, it’s essential to discuss your interests with your lawyer so he or she can best represent you and your rights throughout the process.
Spousal Support Before Divorce
It’s possible to order alimony before a divorce even begins. While the litigation pends, a pendente lite spousal support may be awarded which remains in effect temporarily. If you and your spouse cannot agree to the terms of the award, the court will make the decision for you. A judge will consider major factors like income, financial needs, as well as your ability or your spouse’s ability to pay support during divorce proceedings. Additionally, spouses can file for spousal support in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Courts without filing for divorce.
How Spousal Support Is Determined
No two situations are exactly alike, but many of the same determining factors go into consideration in every case. Once the judge has decided to award spousal support, he or she will weigh several factors including, but not limited to:
- Length of marriage.
- Standard of living.
- Financial needs and resources of both spouses.
- Mental and physical condition of both spouses.
- Financial contributions to the family.
- Current earnings and employment.
- Allocation of marital property.
- Financial assets.
- Physical and mental condition as well as ages of children involved.
- Financial contributions to the other spouse’s education or training.
- Capacity for spouses to receive further education or training to increase earnings.
- Decisions about parenting that affected a spouse’s potential earnings.
- Tax consequences.
How Spousal Support Works
Every scenario is different. Alimony can be paid either in a lump sum or in recurring payments over the course of a set number of years or an indefinite amount of time. To ensure spousal support is paid, a judge may order an income deduction that requires a spouse’s employer to subtract a set monthly amount from his or her paycheck.
The best way to ensure you reach a fair deal is to communicate your circumstances, interests, and goals with your family law attorney. To speak to one of our attorneys, contact us today.