Virginia Alimony and Spousal Support Laws
Alimony is payment made by one spouse to the other spouse after divorce. It can be court ordered or by agreement of the parties. It is also sometimes referred to as spousal support or maintenance.
Types of Spousal Support
- Temporary – may be awarded during the proceedings, prior to final decree.
- Short-Term – may be awarded for a limited duration to allow one party to gain employability.
- Long-Term or Permanent – may be awarded, especially in cases of lengthy marriage, at the court’s discretion.
Who is Eligible for Alimony in Virginia
Either party to a divorce in Virginia may seek alimony. The circumstances of each party will help determine who is awarded alimony in a given case.
Virginia Alimony Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)
To determe the nature, amount and duration of alimony, the court shall consider the following:
- obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties;
- Standard of living established during the marriage;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Age and condition of the parties;
- Contributions made by either party during the marriage;
- Property interests of the parties;
- Earning capacity of the parties; and
- Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony in Virginia
If you have an agreement seek a modification of alimony through the court, the court will only intervene in certain circumstances, including where both parties agreeing to the modification and a substantial change in financial abilities.
Marital Fault in Virginia
A Virginia appeals court found that marital fault must result in economic consequences to be a relevant factor in equitable distribution. The economic partnership theory was used in making the decision. Thus, fault is not be used to punish either spouse economically.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in Virginia?
Support is generally granted for a specific amount of time, though it can be one lump sum payment. The length of time depends on factors such as the parties’ needs, duration of the marriage, and whether dependent children require one spouse to forgo employment opportunities.
Virginia Alimony Taxes
Federal law generally requires that the spouse who receives alimony declare it as income for tax purposes. The spouse who pays alimony may declare it as a deduction for tax purposes. Discuss the implications of your alimony agreement with a Virginia family law attorney to find out the best way to structure your payments.
Find an Alimony Attorney in Virginia
An experienced Virginia attorney will help you navigate the divorce paperwork and your settlement arrangement. An attorney will advocate on your behalf and make the process less stressful.