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Spousal Support Lawyers & Alimony Lawyers

Your divorce is wreaking havoc on your life. Even if you and your spouse were able to come to an agreement that you are better off getting a divorce, it can affect your finances, your children’s lives, and your future. Partner with the alimony lawyers at Montagna Law to represent you and protect your rights and best interests throughout the entire divorce process. We have represented hundreds of payers and payees to ensure that they receive, or pay, a fair amount of alimony and spousal support.

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  • We have represented hundreds of families facing emotional, challenging, and highly contested cases.
  • Our attorneys give hands-on, dedicated, and compassionate legal service.
  • Our spousal support lawyers are knowledgeable, resourceful, caring but aggressive.
  • We find the most harmonious solution for your family.
We will protect your rights. Request a free consultation.

Table of Contents:

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is a payment that one spouse provides to the other while the divorce is pending and, if necessary, for a period of time after the judge finalizes the divorce. The purpose of spousal support is meant to ensure that both spouses can meet their financial obligations and maintain a lifestyle that is as close to their marital lifestyle as possible.

How Is Alimony Determined in Virginia?

Once the court decides that spousal support is applicable, it will take into consideration a variety of factors in order to determine the amount of spousal support, how long it should be paid, and how often payments should be made. The following is a non-exhaustive list of those factors:

  • The couple’s standard of living during the duration of the marriage
  • The obligations, needs, and financial resources of the spouses, including income from pension, profit-sharing, or retirement plans
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical and mental condition of both parties and any circumstances unique to the family
  • The extent to which the age or the physical or mental condition of any child makes it appropriate that a spouse not seek employment outside of the home
  • The contributions – both monetary and non-monetary, of each spouse to the well-being of the family
  • How the marital property has been divided
  • The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity, including skills, education, and training
  • The opportunity for and ability of a spouse to acquire the appropriate education, training, and employment to enhance earning ability
  • The decisions regarding employment, career advancement, economics, education, and parenting arrangements that were made during the marriage and their effect on the present and future earning potential
  • The extent to which either spouse contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position, or profession of the other
  • Any other factors, including the tax consequences, that should be considered to ensure the award is equitable

The court has the ability to order that the payments be made on a temporary basis, permanently, or a combination of the two. Payments could also be made in a lump sum, periodically, or both. 

Additionally, a spouse could ask the court to reserve his or her right to receive support in the future, but there is a limit to how long this reservation lasts. Once the court approves the request, the reservation lasts only for half the time of the marriage (ending on the date of separation).

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Types of Alimony in Virginia

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony falls into two distinct categories:

  • Alimony during litigation is granted by the court before the case is even heard to cover the living expenses of the dependant spouse. The amount may be awarded for a short duration of time or until the divorce is finalized. 
  • Rehabilitative alimony is financial support provided for a short period of time to allow the dependant spouse time to get adjusted and establish him or herself financially. This type of alimony will allow the divorced spouse to “rehabilitate” him or herself and become completely self-supporting.

Permanent Alimony

This refers to support for an indefinite period of time, terminated by the death of either party or the remarriage of the dependent spouse. 

Technical Alimony

Technical alimony means that the number of payments can be modified after the divorce if the agreement states that the payments are dependent upon certain conditions and those conditions warrant it. Either spouse can position the court for an increase or decrease in payments.

Fixed Alimony

Fixed alimony cannot be modified by the court regardless of a change in circumstances. It must be stated in the original agreement that the alimony is to be fixed or the court will understand it to be modifiable at a later date.

How Is Eligibility for Alimony Determined?

In Virginia, the law dictates that spousal support is only awarded when necessary. Generally, the courts have awarded support in marriages that are long-term, where there is a large income gap between the parties, or where a spouse has a disability or doesn’t have a job.

What Is the Duration of Spousal Support?

If the judge awards temporary support while the divorce is pending, the order terminates when the judge finalizes the divorce. 

Rehabilitative, or temporary post-divorce support, is typically short-term and ends on the date ordered by the judge. The court might instead set a future event, such as the completion of a degree program, as the end date.

If the supported spouse needs spousal support beyond the end date, the spouse can request that the judge grant an extension. Permanent spousal support, unless otherwise specified by the court, is indefinite.

Regardless of the terms of spousal support, if the supported spouse remarries or cohabitates, the court will automatically terminate the reward. The same is true if either spouse dies.

What Are the Payment Terms of Spousal Support in Virginia?

Judges can order periodic payments which are generally monthly, lump-sum payments, or order property transfers to pay for spousal support. If you are concerned that your spouse won’t pay, you can ask the court to issue an income deduction order, which directs your spouse’s employer to deduct the support amount from the employee’s paycheck.

Failure to comply with court-ordered spousal support is a serious offense that can result in the court ordering the non-compliant party to pay fines or court costs, seizing their tax returns, or sentencing them to jail.

The legal team at Montagna Law is highly knowledgeable and experienced in the field of family law. Let us guide you through this difficult time in your life and work toward a positive outcome on all issues involved.

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