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  • Published: December 1, 2022

The Role Of Alimony & Spousal Support In Virginia

Spousal support is a complex issue that varies significantly from state to state. In Virginia, the process of determining spousal support payments depends on the stage of the case.

For example, if a spouse goes to juvenile and domestic relations district court to seek support, the amount of support will be calculated using a formula that takes into account factors such as whether there are any minor children involved. If a divorce is pending, the same formula will be used at the Pendente Lite hearing. But at a final divorce hearing, the Court will determine if spousal support is appropriate based on 13 factors.

What Factors Are Considered

There are many factors that the court would look at when deciding if spousal support should be granted and, if so, how much. Factors such as the length of the marriage, the reason for divorce, and earning potential of both parties are taken into account.

One important factor is education. It is important to consider education when making decisions about spousal support. If one spouse needs to get an education to increase their earning capacity, this may be considered by the court.

Additionally, if there is a child that one of the parties needs to stay home with who has due to a mental incapacity, this may also affect the amount of spousal support.

Spousal Support Criteria

When determining a spousal support award in Virginia, the court will consider the obligations, needs, and resources of both parties, including all income earned from all sources such as pensions, profit sharing, retirement accounts, etc.

This is done to establish whether there is a need on the part of the spouse requesting spousal support and an ability to pay on the part of the spouse being asked to provide it.

When considering whether to award spousal support, many courts will take the length of the marriage into account. There is no hard and fast rule, but often courts will order support for half the duration of a marriage that lasted 20 years or more.

Factors such as the need for support and each spouse’s ability to pay will also be considered. It is also worth noting that the age, physical or mental condition, or special circumstances of any of the children might make it inappropriate to seek employment outside the home.

Stay At Home Parents

Both parents contribute to the well-being of a family in monetary and non-monetary ways. It is interesting to explore this topic because often the parent who stays at home may feel like they do more ‘non-monetary’ work, such as taking care of the house and children. However, both parents are essential to a family’s functioning.

There are some people who believe that staying at home to raise a family and not getting a degree means they should be paid spousal support indefinitely. However, judges often decide that those individuals need to get a job, develop some skills, and go back to school. The marriage is ending, and the judge often tends to believe it is appropriate to expect them to become self-sufficient as soon as possible.

The opportunity to earn more money through education, training, and employment is something that the judge considers as well. This includes the ability to acquire the necessary skills, as well as the time and costs involved.

In Conclusion

The decisions that spouses make about employment, careers, economics, education, and parenting during the marriage can have a significant impact on each person’s earning potential and future financial security. These factors are often taken into consideration when making decisions about spousal support after divorce.

For more information on Divorce Law In Virginia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (804) 207-9381 today.


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