The amount of spousal support awarded often varies according to the length of the marriage. For this reason it is necessary to speak to a qualified family law attorney to find out where you stand according to Virginia law. Many factors come into play when spousal support is awarded.
In many cases, if the marriage has been lengthy a judge will award spousal support, or alimony. However, there are also circumstances in which a judge will award alimony in shorter marriages. Each case is decided on its own merits. Generally, alimony is awarded in situations where one spouse spent a large amount of time contributing to the marriage by caring for children and the home or contributing to the other spouse’s education or business.
Contributions to the Home
The contributions of those who choose to work in the home are not discounted in a Virginia divorce. The courts have a history of recognizing the fact that enormous amounts of energy and time go into taking care of children and running a home. In fact, in a large number of cases, one spouse gave up the chance to pursue an education or compete for a higher paying job in order to care for children. This absence from the workforce may put that spouse in a lower pay category when able to return to work. These factors are acknowledged when the issue of spousal support needs to be addressed.
The idea behind spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is that the spouse with lesser earning power should receive assistance in get back on his or her feet financially to a point where he or she is able to live independently. In many instances, this may be just a temporary period as the spouse goes back to school, gets retrained or looks for a job.
Typically, once the spouse becomes self-sufficient the order for spousal support is terminated. In other circumstances, the support lasts until one of the parties dies or the person receiving support remarries. There are some cases where no support is awarded. This usually occurs in instances where both spouses have high paying jobs.
Determining Spousal Support
The amount of alimony awarded is usually predicated upon the parties’ earning power, earning potential and actual income. The courts also assess each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and to the others education. It is a relatively straightforward process, but it should always be approached with the compassionate assistance of a family law attorney with years of experience in this area. Contacting me will allow you to have as much control as possible over your situation. I understand the issues involved and know how painful this period in your life can be. I am happy to speak with you and discuss your rights as they relate to spousal support.
My law firm focuses on your family. Contact me at my Vienna, Virginia, law office to discuss your case. I am always happy to speak with you.