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How does spousal support work in a Virginia divorce?

By February 28, 2022July 5th, 2023Spousal Support

Going through a divorce can be overwhelming – especially when you’re faced with the unknowns of the future. What will happen to your assets and property? Will you get to keep the house? What will your spouse get? Will one of you have to pay spousal support?

At Slovensky Law, we work with you to make sure you understand each and every step of the process of your Virginia divorce, no matter what your situation looks like. And we do everything in our power to protect your rights and help you get your life back on track.

Is my spouse entitled to anything during our Virginia divorce?

People getting a divorce in Virginia may be concerned that their assets or property will be given to their spouse during the divorce.

Luckily, this is not the case. 

According to Virginia law:

  • Neither party in the marriage is automatically entitled to anything until the court takes a look at the situation and determines how best to divide things. 
  • Property will be divided by the court, as well, based on the specific financial situation of each of the divorcing spouses.
  • Spousal support is an option in Virginia if one party requests it, but again – the court decides whether or not the party will receive it.

So is property division 50/50 in a Virginia divorce?

The short answer is no.

Virginia follows the “equitable distribution” method of property division, which means that instead of dividing everything in half, assets are divided fairly between the parties when taking into account the finances of the couple. 

In fact, the divorcing couple has the option to determine how the assets will be divided – as well as other important decisions, such as child custody, child support, etc. – through an uncontested divorce.

However, if a mutual agreement cannot be made between the two parties, the court will be the deciding factor.

It is important to note, though, that the court will only split property that is considered community property. Any other property either spouse owns by themselves will be kept separate. While this article goes over the basics of spousal support in a Virginia divorce, the real details should be left to an attorney to work over.

What is considered a marital asset in Virginia?

In Virginia, property is divided into 3 main categories for a divorce.

  • Marital Property

In most situations, property that you acquire on or after your wedding day is considered marital property. Other property that was brought to the marriage by one spouse but has been used for the benefit of both spouses during the marriage is also typically considered marital property. This may include:

    • Real estate
    • Motor vehicles
    • Furniture
    • Investments
    • Pensions
    • Retirement accounts
  • Separate Property

Separate property, then, is property that belongs to just one spouse. This property is not divided in a Virginia divorce. Here are some examples:

    • Property that one spouse had prior to marriage
    • Property that is given to one spouse as a gift or inheritance before or during the marriage
    • Property that is purchased during marriage only using money that the spouse had as separate property prior to marriage or money from a separate property gift or inheritance
  • Part-Marital Property and Part-Separate Property

Of course, there may be some confusion as to which category some property will fit into. Property bought by one spouse as separate property that increased in value over time is sometimes considered marital property, for example. In this situation, this type of asset may be determined to be part-marital property and part-separate property.

Unfortunately, some divorce attorneys tend to gloss over the benefits of part-marital property and part-separate property. At Slovensky Law, we work hard to identify these types of assets and make sure our clients are able to recover everything available to them.

How does spousal support work in Virginia?

Neither party in a divorce is necessarily entitled to spousal support – the amount of money paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse in order to maintain them financially –  but some spouses do request it. 

Unlike child support, there isn’t a statewide set of guidelines for determining the amount of support in all spousal support cases in Virginia (with a few exceptions).

Instead, Virginia law requires courts to consider a list of factors when determining the amount and duration of spousal support, including:

  • Age of the parties
  • Length of marriage
  • The present and future earning capacity of each party, (including their education, skills and work experience)
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The supporting party’s ability to pay
  • The parties’ respective contributions to the marriage
  • Financial assets of each party
  • The needs of each party (including the minor children)
  • Decisions made with regards to rearing the children that affected careers
  • The tax consequences to both

Contact Slovensky Law today to get the answers you need about spousal support in a Virginia divorce

At Slovensky Law, we know that emotions often run high as a person’s or a family’s future changes forever. And finding the right divorce lawyer to help you best navigate these issues can be tricky.

That’s why we are dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you get your life back on track after your divorce. Contact our Roanoke, Virginia office today to schedule your first consultation.

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