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Family Law
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Norfolk Spousal Support Attorneys

Obtaining alimony can be a complex and difficult task after a divorce. Financial stability is the main concern for a person seeking alimony. Virginia law establishes a process for determining alimony, or spousal support, in divorce proceedings.

You may be worried about your future livelihood or feel overwhelmed by the legal process. The emotional challenges can build as a divorce case progresses. A contested divorce could mean confrontation with a former spouse. Even in an uncontested divorce, you might worry about an inequitable settlement. This stress can make the legal process seem even more daunting.

An experienced Norfolk spousal support attorney can offer legal advice, guidance, and legal representation through the complexities of an alimony case. The family law attorneys at Montagna Law have years of experience helping people in the Norfolk area deal with complicated alimony disputes. Our Norfolk divorce attorneys know that their understanding of Virginia law and commitment to clients are crucial to advocating for a fair settlement.


No matter what life throws at you, we can help you solve your legal problems.

Call (877) 622-8100 or complete the online contact form to request a free consultation.


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      What is Alimony in Norfolk, Virginia?

      Spousal support, or alimony, is a payment that one spouse (the “payor”) makes to the other spouse (the “payee”):

      • Temporary support continues for a limited amount of time after the divorce is finalized.
      • Permanent support continues indefinitely.

      The purpose of temporary support is often to help one spouse get to a point where they can support themself. For example, a spouse who stayed home during the marriage to support the family might need financial support for education or job training.

      Permanent support is less common. It might be available to a spouse who will never be able to support themself because of issues like age, disability, or custody of a special-needs child.

      How is Spousal Support in Norfolk, Virginia Determined?

      The determination of spousal support may occur in two ways:

      • The parties to a divorce proceeding enter into a separation agreement that includes alimony; OR
      • A judge orders alimony as part of a final divorce decree, usually after a trial.

      What Factors Are Used to Decide Spousal Support in Virginia?

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      A judge must consider numerous factors when deciding whether to award spousal support and determining the amount. First, the judge must consider whether the divorce is fault-based or not. Virginia limits the availability of alimony to spouses who have committed adultery. Factors judges must consider also include:

      • Each spouse’s income and other financial resources
      • Each spouse’s financial obligations
      • The length of the marriage
      • Each spouse’s health
      • The spouses’ standard of living during the marriage
      • Each spouse’s ability to earn a living outside of the marriage
      • Contributions, both monetary and non-monetary, made by each spouse to the family’s well-being
      • Employment and education decisions made during the marriage, such as one spouse’s decision to forego a career to care for the children
      • Children of the marriage with special needs that might require a spouse to continue not to work outside the home
      • Other fault-based grounds for divorce, such as cruelty or abandonment

      Virginia law establishes a formula for determining the amount of child support, but not post-divorce spousal support. A judge has fairly wide discretion to determine the amount and duration of spousal support payments. An experienced Norfolk spousal support lawyer can help you determine the level of spousal support you need and argue your case in front of the judge.

      When Does Alimony End?

      The obligation to make support payments may end:

      • On a specific date, as ordered by the court or agreed by the spouses;
      • When the payee remarries; OR
      • When either party dies.

      The payee must notify the payor if they remarry.

      Is Alimony Taxed in Norfolk, Virginia?

      The answer depends on when the divorce occurred. Alimony used to be taxable under federal law. The payee paid federal income tax on the amount they received, and the payor could claim it as a deduction. This is still true for people who divorced in 2018 or earlier.

      A law that took effect on January 1, 2019 changed this for divorces granted on or after that date. Payees who got divorced in 2019 or later do not pay taxes on spousal support payments, and payors may not deduct them.

      Why Work With Montagna Law

      Montagna Law is a Norfolk family law firm with years of experience representing the people of Virginia in a variety of practice areas. We provide client-focused legal services to family law clients in matters like divorce, child custody, and spousal support. Our law firm and our divorce lawyers have received numerous awards and recognition, including:

      • Top 10 Family Law Firm, Attorney and Practice Magazine, 2023
      • Top 10 Attorney, Attorney and Practice Magazine, 2023
      • Lawyers of Distinction, 2024
      • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100

      Testimonials

      We believe in our services because our clients believe in our services. Hear what they have to say about their experience with Montagna Law.

      “I love that my concerns are ALWAYS addressed, and my phone calls are returned. Great staff!!” — Sickler J.

      “Outstanding law firm. Helpful in every department, services, time, and patience. Wonderful people. Extremely satisfied. Thank you” — AJ P.

      Seeking Alimony? Call Our Law Firm

      The Virginia alimony lawyers at Montagna Law have years of experience representing people in divorces, spousal support disputes, and other family law matters in Norfolk. We will provide you with legal advice and representation that addresses your needs, whether you have an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce, or a post-divorce alimony case. Our law office handles cases across Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Newport News, Suffolk, and Chesapeake. Request a free consultation with a member of our office today by calling 877-622-8100 or completing our online contact form.

      Visit Our Office

      Address:
      Montagna Law
      425 Monticello Avenue Suite B
      Norfolk, Virginia 23510-2408
      Phone:
      +1 (757) 622-8100
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      Frequent Answered Questions

      Does Adultery Affect Alimony in Virginia?

      Yes, adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce that can also affect a court’s decision on spousal support. Virginia law states that the court cannot award permanent alimony to a spouse who committed adultery. The only way around this is if the spouse can prove that denying them permanent alimony would be a “manifest injustice.” They must prove this by “clear and convincing evidence,” which is a difficult burden of proof to meet.

      It is still possible for a spouse to receive temporary alimony after adultery, but it will be a factor in the court’s decision. The judge may award no support or less support than the person might have received otherwise.

      How Do You Calculate Alimony in Virginia?

      Virginia does not have a specific formula for calculating post-divorce spousal support. A judge might base support calculations on the difference between the two spouses’ incomes. They might look at their expenses and other financial obligations and set support at an amount that puts the two spouses in a similar financial position.

      A judge can raise or lower the amount of spousal support based on various factors. Fault in the breakup of the marriage could be significant. Another common factor in calculating alimony involves one spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education and financial future, such as when one spouse supports the other spouse through medical school.

      Can a Norfolk Alimony Attorney Help Modify an Existing Alimony Agreement in Virginia?

      Your ability to modify an existing spousal support agreement will depend on the circumstances of the original spousal support order. A separation agreement or court order might limit the parties’ ability to modify the order. If the agreement or order does not limit modifications, there are two ways to modify a support order:

      • The parties agree to a modification; OR
      • A court orders a modification, as allowed by Virginia law.

      A court can only modify a support order if it finds the following:

      • There has been a “material change in the circumstances of the parties”; AND

      The change is not something the parties could reasonably have expected at the time of the original order.

      What is Pendente Lite Spousal Support in Virginia?

      A court can order temporary spousal support for the spouse who earns less money. Known as pendente lite spousal support, this obligation only applies while the divorce proceeding is pending.

      Virginia law provides a formula for calculating pendente lite spousal support in cases where the spouses’ combined gross monthly income (GMI) is no more than $10,000.

      • If the spouses do not have minor children together: 27% of the payor’s GMI minus 50% of the payee’s GMI.
      • If the spouses have minor children: 26% of the payor’s GMI minus 58% of the payee’s MGI.

      The court may change the amount of spousal support in a final divorce decree or eliminate it.