Family Law Practices
Fairfax Spousal Support LawyerIn some cases, a spouse’s requirement to provide support for another may continue after the marriage has ended. Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is not to be confused with child support or the division of assets. There are varying lengths of time one may pay or collect alimony depending on the circumstances surrounding each marriage and divorce. A couple may decide to enter a spousal support agreement on their own or have one dictated by the court. In either case, the advice of an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney will be to your advantage.
When Can Alimony be Barred?A person’s right to alimony can be cut off if it is proven that they committed adultery. However, there are many caveats to this, and proving adultery can often be very difficult. If you believe this may apply to your situation, you should consult an experienced Virginia Spousal Support Attorney.
Determining Spousal SupportThere are no hard and fast guidelines for determining either the amount or duration of spousal support in the Commonwealth of Virginia following a divorce. The basic consideration for determining who pays, how much, and the duration of support is based on one spouse’s financial need balanced against the other’s ability to pay. Fairfax County does use guidelines, similar to child support guidelines, to determine temporary support. That is to say, support is paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce has been filed until the divorce is final. However, these guidelines are not supposed to be used to determine support post-divorce. Some other local jurisdictions also use these guidelines.
Factors Affecting Alimony Decisions in VirginiaA few of the many factors that go into a spousal support determination include:
- Age of the parties
- The duration of the 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
- Each spouse's financial assets
- The needs of each party (including the minor children)
- Decisions made with regards to rearing the children that affected careers
- The tax consequences for both
Types of Virginia AlimonyThere are several types of alimony that the court may award during the divorce process:
- Temporary alimony is typically awarded when the parties are separated, but not divorced. It can continue after the divorce if completed under a different name.
- Rehabilitative alimony lasts for a specific length of time. It is awarded to the dependent spouse while they receive additional training to reenter the workforce, find another job, or relocate. It can also be awarded if there are young children in the family that would delay the dependent spouse’s entry into the workforce.
- Permanent alimony continues indefinitely and is primarily in long-term marriages. Certain events can cause the permanent alimony to end such as the death of the spouse paying alimony, death of the spouse receiving alimony, remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony, or long-term cohabitation with another individual in a relationship analogous to marriage.