December 20, 2011
Factors Courts Consider When Awarding Virginia Alimony (Spousal Support)
There are two support issues that are dealt with in Virginia divorce proceeding: child support and spousal support. Spousal support is commonly known as alimony, but may also be referred to as maintenance. Several factors are considered by the courts when determining whether an award of spousal support is appropriate.
Both spouses in a marriage may be eligible for spousal support once a divorce is filed with the appropriate Virginia court. A pendente lite order for spousal support may be issued to require one spouse to make support payments, including continuing to provide healthcare coverage, while the divorce is pending.
A full disclosure and discussion of your financial situation, both during your marriage as well as what you expect it to be after the marriage ends, with your Richmond spousal support lawyer can help you understand whether you meet basic criteria for the court to award spousal support as well as answer any questions you may have about the amount or duration of any award.
In deciding whether to order spousal support, the court will consider a variety of factors as defined by Virginia statute, including:
- The standard of living during the marriage and each spouse’s ability to maintain that standard upon divorce
- The age, physical condition and mental condition of the divorcing spouses
- The effect the age, physical condition or mental condition of any children will have on the ability for one spouse to work outside the home
- The distribution of marital property
- The earning capacity of both spouses
- The time that may be necessary for one spouse to receive the training and education to become self-sufficient
- Contributions by one spouse to the education or career of the other
- The choice for one parent to remain in the home and parent any children while the other spouse worked
These are just a few of the many factors that are written out specifically in the Virginia Code that a court must consider before awarding spousal support.
A Virginia family law attorney can address any questions you have about qualifying for spousal support. There are additional considerations to be made regarding the length or duration of an award of spousal support as well as whether any awarded amount should be distributed as periodic payments or as a lump sum.