Seeking spousal support in a divorce can help you adjust to the loss in income that occurs after splitting up with your partner. But before seeking spousal support during your divorce, ensure you understand how it works. Here’s everything you need to know about spousal support in Virginia.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is financial support one spouse must pay to the other for a designated period of time after the divorce. While most forms of spousal support are temporary, lasting up to five years after the divorce, some forms can be permanent and last until the paying spouse dies or the recipient remarries.
This form of support is common after marriages in which one spouse was the “breadwinner” or made significantly more than the other. For example, you may have cause to seek spousal support if your spouse worked while you stayed home with the kids. Even though you both contributed to the marriage in fairways, you’ll be left with no income after the divorce finalizes, creating a need for spousal support while you find other ways to support yourself.
How Does Virginia Determine Spousal Support?
If you seek spousal support in your divorce, the Virginia courts will determine your eligibility first. The courts determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. They may examine any of the following factors affecting your need for spousal support:
- The circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage
- The incomes and financial needs of both parties
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- The ability of each party to hold gainful employment
Determining the Value and Duration of Spousal Support
If the court deems you eligible for spousal support, it will determine the length and monetary value of the spousal support.
The court will calculate the amount of support you can earn based on your monetary needs, the income difference between you and your spouse, and extraneous factors affecting your need for support. It will also evaluate whether you are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. If so, you may not be eligible for as much support, as you could earn more money on your own if you wanted to.
During this process, the court will also determine how long you will be eligible for receiving support. You and your attorney must provide specific reasoning for your requested time. For instance, you may seek spousal support:
- While you are finishing schooling to qualify for a higher-paying job
- Until your children are school-aged
- Until you achieve a predetermined raise at your job
- Until you are past a period of financial hardship
- For one year, which you believe is long enough to find a higher-paying job
Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney for Assistance
If you’re seeking spousal support in Virginia, you need a qualified divorce attorney to help provide evidence of your need and guide you through the process. Contact DiPietro Law Group, PLLC, today at 888-530-4374 to schedule a consultation.