Experienced Alimony Lawyers Ready to Defend Your Rights, VA
Disputed spousal support claims are some of the most disputed matters to resolve or litigate in divorce cases. An experienced family lawyer can navigate all of the difficult circumstances that may arise when trying to negotiate or litigate spousal support. Our attorneys have many decades of combined legal experience working with alimony cases in metro Richmond and in Harrisonburg.
Two-income families are becoming more common compared to past generations as wives are becoming the primary breadwinners of families with increasing regularity. Due to these positive economic changes, fair and appropriate spousal support becomes more difficult to determine.
Spousal Support Factors
In Virginia, the court considers a number of factors when determining spousal support awards:
- Duration of marriage: One of the most important considerations for the court is the length of the marriage. Although there is no minimum length of a marriage that is required for a spouse to receive spousal support, a very short marriage is likely to yield either no award of support or a shorter spousal support award than a marriage that lasted 30 years.
- Education and earning capacity: The court will consider the ability of each party to earn money, including the education, experience, and training each has received.
- Need vs. ability to pay: The court will balance the earning capacity of one party against the need of the other.
- The health and age of the spouses
- Child care expense and related financial obligations
How Spousal Support Works
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are three kinds of alimony. These are permanent alimony, lump sum alimony, and rehabilitative alimony.
Most people are familiar with permanent alimony. Technically it is not “permanent” as if there is a big change in circumstances (such as the paying spouse loses their job through no fault of their own) a court may amend or terminate support in the future. This is when a party requests permanent or long-term alimony for living expenses including housing expenses, groceries, utilities, etc.
The requesting party must be able to show they need the support and they must try to establish the spouse has the ability to support some or all of their financial needs.
If a party is awarded rehabilitative alimony, this is only for a short, determined period of time.
It will likely not include the full standard of living the couple had during their marriage. Rehabilitative alimony gives the receiving spouse the ability to get additional training or education to improve their earning capacity and to become self-sufficient.
Lump sum is relatively rare in which the court can award a one-time payment of support. Typcially this occurs in cases in which there are significant assets in which the payor can use to pay a lump sum.
Virginia also has what is known as the “right of reservation”.
After the court sets the terms of alimony, it is still possible for the court to revisit the terms of the alimony payments if there is a significant change in circumstances for either party.
The right of reservation is good for a certain time period. That period will be 50 percent of the time the couple was legally married and living together.
For example, if a couple was married and living with each other for 10 years, they will have the right of reservation for 5 years.
How We Can Help
Through our years of experience handling the divorce process, our Richmond alimony attorneys can guide you through the legal pitfalls that come with divorce. We are here to ensure you get the best possible outcome in your spousal support and alimony case. Upon your first meeting with one of our Richmond or Harrisonburg spousal support attorneys, we will develop a case-specific roadmap to address your spousal support and divorce issues. We pride ourselves in our ability to handle our clients’ matters in the most strategic and efficient manner possible.