In addition to child support, one of the most financially significant decisions that comes out of divorce is spousal support payments. Spousal support is money paid on a regular basis to a former spouse to help offset the financial hardships of separation. Understanding how Virginia calculates the amount and duration of spousal support payments can get complicated.
At Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., we are committed to helping individuals move forward with their lives and plan for the future following the emotionally overwhelming divorce process. Part of that process includes helping you understand how Virginia courts determine the size and duration of spousal support payments.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is not a punishment for moving forward with the divorce process. It is simply the court’s way to ensure that both parties can avoid some financial hardships that could result from a divorce. For example, the work of a stay-at-home parent is valuable. However, following a divorce, it can be challenging for a stay-at-home parent to enter the workforce and maintain the same standard of living.
The same may be true for couples where one spouse brings in a vastly higher income than the other. After a divorce, one spouse may struggle to make ends meet and endure financial hardships. Spousal support can help even the playing field between spouses.
How Virginia Determines the Size and Duration of Spousal Support Payments
There are numerous factors the court considers when determining the size and scope of spousal support payments. Divorcing partners can agree to the amount and duration of spousal support payments. However, when partners cannot agree to fair terms, the court will step in to award spousal support based, in part, on each spouse’s economic needs and circumstances.
Some of the most common facts that can help determine the size and duration of spousal support payments in Virginia include:
- The couple’s previous standard of living
- The length of the marriage
- Age, physical, and mental condition of each spouse
- Financial obligations and needs of each spouse
- Monetary contributions of each spouse
- Non-monetary contributions of each spouse
- How marital property has been divided
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- Decisions affecting employment, education, childcare, and economics during the marriage
- Tax consequences for each spouse
- Contributions of one spouse to the education or increased earning power of the other
When a couple has been married for an extended time, or there is a significant gap in their income, the court is more likely to increase the size and duration of a spousal support agreement. Other factors may influence spousal support payments as well. In Virginia, a spouse who commits adultery may be prevented from receiving spousal support in certain circumstances.
Spousal support payments cover a specific period determined by the court. Typically, court-ordered spousal support ends when the time limit expires or upon the death, remarriage, or cohabitation of the spouse receiving the support. If there is a significant change in an individual’s circumstances, a person can seek to modify the spousal support order.
Unraveling all the factors that can impact the duration and size of a spousal support settlement can be challenging without the help of an experienced Virginia family law attorney.
Seek Help from a Skilled Virginia Family Law Attorney Today
Are you concerned about your financial stability post-divorce? You should discuss your situation with a knowledgeable Virginia Beach family law attorney immediately. Our compassionate family lawyer at Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., can review your situation and help you pursue the spousal support you need. Don’t jeopardize your financial future. Talk to a lawyer today. Contact our office at (757) 962-5588 to arrange a case evaluation.