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Alimony & Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is money paid to a former spouse. The purpose of spousal support is to prevent a non-wage earning or lower-wage earning spouse from suffering an undue economic hardship because of the divorce. This type of support assumes that the spouse sacrificed the ability to earn income for the good of the family during the marriage, most commonly in cases of stay-at-home parents.

There are many different ways the Virginia courts can award spousal support. The most common arrangements include:

Permanent support: Also known as open-ended support, this type of payment sets a specific sum of money to be paid on an ongoing basis. This is most common after a long marriage or when the spouse will have difficult time entering the workforce.

Rehabilitative support: This type of support is meant to continue just for as long as it takes the former spouse to be able to support himself or herself. This may mean the former spouse takes classes or simply gains traction in the workforce.

Lump sum: With permanent and rehabilitative support, there cannot be a total set amount to be paid, as it cannot be determined how long the support will continue. A lump-sum payment can be paid to the spouse in different ways but sets an exact figure that will be awarded.

Temporary support: This type of support is meant to continue only as long as the divorce process is ongoing.

The court considers many different factors when determining spousal support, and unlike child support, the judge is given more discretion to set the payment amounts. Some common considerations include:

  • Standard of living during the marriage;
  • Length of the marriage;
  • The age and physical condition of the spouses;
  • The earning capacity of the spouses;
  • The extent to which one has contributed to the education, training, position, or profession of the other spouse;
  • Tax consequences to each spouse;
  • The monetary and non-monetary contributions of the spouses to the family during the marriage; and
  • Other factors can prevent a spouse from receiving support, such as in cases of adultery or abuse.

Support issues can be both key to your security and open to broad interpretation by the courts. When your future is at stake, it is important to have an experienced advocate who can make sure that your contributions to the marriage are valued.

Please contact us at 703-865-7480 so that we may assist you with alimony or spousal support concerns.

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