Alimony, now referred to in most states as spousal support, are payments made by one spouse to the other in order to support them after the couple end their marriage. Spousal support is mostly common when one spouse is financially dependent of the other as a result of not being employed, having a significantly smaller income or a disability.
In the state of Virginia, spousal support can be determined by the couple themselves or in court. A couple may agree on an amount themselves or decide against spousal support if they both have similar incomes. On the other hand, if the court must make the decision on behalf of the couple, the judge must consider a few factors, similar to the ones considered for property division.
Firstly, the court in Virginia will consider the financial needs and resources of each spouse for support. In order to determine this, the court may look at their incomes and the assets that they own, the share of marital property that they received, their rights to retirement benefits, the debts they owe, the separate property they owned prior to marriage and their earning power in comparison with the other spouse’s.
Furthermore, the court will look at the ability of each spouse to be self-supporting, the standard of living the couple had during their marriage and if a lifestyle change into separate households would be a realistic choice for each spouse, the duration of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse, and their physical and mental health during its course.
In the state of Virginia, alimony can be paid as either timely payments or as a lump sum. In the case of the former, there are several types of alimony that can be awarded.
Permanent alimony is usually awarded in the case of long-term marriages. It is paid indefinitely and can only end as a result of the death of one of the spouses or their remarriage.
Temporary alimony in Virginia is awarded while the couple are separated, but not officially divorced yet, this is also known as alimony before litigation and they tend to be higher than the maintenance stipend payments received once the divorce is finalized.
Rehabilitative alimony is only paid for a certain period of time, it is meant to help the spouse in need until they are able to ‘rehabilitate’ financially and establish financial independence.
Moreover, alimony payments can be deducted from the income tax of the payer spouse, while the payee spouse is obligated to pay taxes on the income he receives from them.
The amount of alimony, in accordance with the laws of Virginia, is decided in the separation agreement along with child support and property division. If set out by the couple themselves, modifications to the amounts paid can only be put in place if the agreement allows for future modifications. Moreover, the court may not modify this amount if agreed upon by the couple. However, if a judge set the amount, the court has the right to adjust the amount if the paying spouse petitioned for it.
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.