Spousal Support Attorney Virginia

Spousal support is an amount of money paid by a higher earning spouse to a lower earning spouse in order to maintain him or her financially. Unlike child support, there isn’t a statewide set of guidelines for determining the amount of support in all spousal support cases, except in temporary spousal support cases brought in the juvenile and domestic relations district courts.

Since there isn’t a set of guidelines, Virginia law requires courts to consider a list of factors, when determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

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How do courts determine spousal support?

A few of the many factors that go into a spousal support determination include:

  • 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
  • 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

Types of Spousal Support in Virginia

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court can order support for any married individual that has separated from his or her spouse, whether or not a divorce has been filed (as long as the parties are not divorced and a Circuit Court has not entered support orders).

Temporary spousal support

Temporary spousal support, sometimes known as pendente lite support (meaning “pending the litigation”), is available once a divorce is filed, but not finalized.

In certain circumstances, spousal support can continue for a specific period of time after the divorce is finalized to provide the spouse with lower relative income with sufficient financial support while he or she transitions to life as a single, self-supporting individual. This arrangement allows time for a successful job search, completion of certain educational goals or some other known course of action.

For some, support will be needed for an indefinite period after the divorce until circumstances change to warrant a modification.

Temporary spousal support

Temporary spousal support, sometimes known as pendente lite support (meaning “pending the litigation”), is available once a divorce is filed, but not finalized.

In certain circumstances, spousal support can continue for a specific period of time after the divorce is finalized to provide the spouse with lower relative income with sufficient financial support while he or she transitions to life as a single, self-supporting individual. This arrangement allows time for a successful job search, completion of certain educational goals or some other known course of action.

For some, support will be needed for an indefinite period after the divorce until circumstances change to warrant a modification.

There are two kinds of support that can be awarded in a final divorce decree- permanent and rehabilitative.

Permanent spousal support

Permanent spousal support is generally reserved for long-term married couples who have spent most of their adult lives together, where one spouse made significant career sacrifices for the other. This support is designed to maintain both parties as close to as possible, the standard of living that was established during the marriage.

Certain events can cause permanent spousal support to end such as:

  • Significant change in financial circumstances
  • Death of the spouse paying alimony
  • Death of the spouse receiving alimony
  • Remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony
  • Long-term cohabitation with someone in a relationship like a marriage (romantically involved, not that you have a roommate) for a year or more.
Permanent spousal support

Permanent spousal support is generally reserved for long-term married couples who have spent most of their adult lives together, where one spouse made significant career sacrifices for the other. This support is designed to maintain both parties as close to as possible, the standard of living that was established during the marriage.

Certain events can cause permanent spousal support to end such as:

  • Significant change in financial circumstances
  • Death of the spouse paying alimony
  • Death of the spouse receiving alimony
  • Remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony
  • Long-term cohabitation with someone in a relationship like a marriage (romantically involved, not that you have a roommate) for a year or more.
Rehabilitative support

Rehabilitative support is designed to get a party back on his or her own two feet after a divorce. Rehabilitative support is awarded to the dependent spouse for a specific duration of time, usually to receive additional training to reenter the workforce, find another job, or relocate. For example, once someone completes an RN license, or a bachelor’s degree they are going to go back to school for, rehabilitative support would end.

In contested spousal support cases, we may use a vocational expert to assess the other party’s earning capacity. If they are underearning, the Court will generally treat them as if they were earning what they are capable of earning, not what they are actually earning. We may also use a financial professional to make projections as to the needs of a party.

Rehabilitative support

Rehabilitative support is designed to get a party back on his or her own two feet after a divorce. Rehabilitative support is awarded to the dependent spouse for a specific duration of time, usually to receive additional training to reenter the workforce, find another job, or relocate. For example, once someone completes an RN license, or a bachelor’s degree they are going to go back to school for, rehabilitative support would end.

In contested spousal support cases, we may use a vocational expert to assess the other party’s earning capacity. If they are underearning, the Court will generally treat them as if they were earning what they are capable of earning, not what they are actually earning. We may also use a financial professional to make projections as to the needs of a party.

Contact an experienced spousal support attorney in Roanoke, Virginia

Slovensky Law is dedicated to protecting your rights and getting you the spousal support you deserve so that you can get your life back on track.

Contact Slovensky Law to schedule a consultation