Alimony is a financial obligation on an individual to provide support to their spouse during or after a divorce. In Virginia, alimony is usually referred to as spousal support. Alimony is issued by a judge after investigating, analyzing and considering the circumstances of the case. There are many factors a judge will consider before determining the amount of alimony to be paid and the length of time it will be paid for.
Financial Resources of Both Parties
- A judge may only award alimony to a spouse that faces financial difficulties. A judge will assess the employability and potential earnings of either spouse before coming to a decision. If both spouses have decent incomes and assets, alimony will not be granted.
Physical and Mental Health
- A judge will consider the physical and mental health of both parties before awarding alimony. For example, if one spouse has a physical disability that prevents them from working or makes it difficult to find a job, it is very likely that alimony will be awarded to them.
Duration of Marriage
- Longer marriages have higher chances of being awarded alimony.
Standard of Living During Marriage
- Alimony may be granted to the disadvantaged spouse in divorce so that they can continue to live at the standards they grew accustomed to during the marriage
Contributions made in the Marriage
- A judge will consider the contributions of either spouse during marriage. This may include financial contributions. A spouse’s decision to give up their career in order to become a homemaker to raise children or allow a spouse to advance in their career path is also considered a contribution.
Main Types of Alimony
Temporary Alimony: is granted for a specific amount of time. This may be during separation or in the case of an ongoing divorce. Temporary alimony is granted to a dependent spouse to support them while they train or study in order to financially support themselves in the future.
Permanent Alimony: is granted if either of the spouses has a physical disability that prevents them from financially supporting themselves or if the spouse is too old to work. Permanent alimony is more likely to be granted in marriages that were considered long term.
Calculating Alimony in Virginia
In Virginia, in order to issue alimony, the paying spouse’s income usually has to be 50% higher than the receiving spouse. For alimony to be issued there has to be a major difference in the incomes of both spouses. When the incomes qualify for alimony, judges use specific formulas to calculate the exact amount of money that will be paid annually. Alimony is set at 30% percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income minus half of the lower-earning spouse’s income. For example, if the one spouse has an income of $60,000 and the other has an annual income of $30,000, alimony is calculated by subtracting half of $30,000 (which is $15,000) from 30% of the higher income (30% of $60,000 is $18,000). Therefore the annual amount of income paid is $18,000 – $15,000 which is $3000 annually.
Termination or Changes in Alimony
Alimony payments may be changed or terminated, in accordance to the laws of Virginia, if:
- There is a major material change in circumstances
- Death of either spouse
- Remarriage of receiving spouse
If you need a Virginia alimony lawyer to help you with your alimony case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia alimony attorneys can help you.