West Virginia Alimony and Spousal Support Laws

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Under West Virginia law, a court may order spousal support, or alimony. The court will consider all relevant information including marital fault in determining the amount and duration of any award.

Types of Spousal Support

  • Temporary – awarded during the proceedings, prior to final decree.
  • Short-Term – awarded for a limited time to allow one party to gain employability.
  • Long-Term or Permanent –awarded, especially in cases where there was a lengthy marriage, at the court’s discretion.

Who is Eligable?

A West Virginia court may require either party to pay spousal support. The needs, abilities, incomes and other factors will be considered to determine alimony.

West Virginia Alimony Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)

The following factors will be looked at to determine the amount of any spousal support:

  • Duration of the marriage, and any periods of separation;
  • Employment income and other earnings of each party;
  • Projected future earnings of each party;
  • Ages and the physical, mental and emotional condition of each party;
  • Education and skills of each party;
  • Whether either party has foregone or postponed opportunities during the course of the marriage;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Likelihood that the party seeking support can substantially increase employability within a reasonable time through additional education or training;
  • Any financial or other contribution made by either party to the other party;
  • Anticipated expense of obtaining the education and training;
  • Costs of educating minor children;
  • Costs of providing health care for each of the parties and their minor children;
  • Tax consequences;
  • Custodial children;
  • Financial need; and
  • Any other factors the court deems necessary.

Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony

There must be a change of circumstances in order for a West Virginia court to modify or terminate an existing support award. If you feel that a modification or termination is appropriate in your case, talk to a family law attorney.

Marital Fault in West Virginia

The court may consider fault in determining alimony. West Virginia has both no-fault and fault grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds include:

  • Living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least one year; and
  • Irreconcilable differences between the parties.

Fault-based grounds for divorce in West Virginia include:

  • Reasonable apprehension of bodily harm;
  • False accusation of adultery or homosexuality; or
  • Conduct or treatment that destroys or tends to destroy the well-being of the other spouse, including:
    • Adultery;
    • Conviction of a felony;  
    • Incurable insanity;
    • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse;
    • Willful neglect or abuse of a spouse or child.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in West Virginia?

Support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes support lasts for several years or it can also be for a shorter time or in a lump sum. The court will consider the needs of the parties to determine how long support will last.

Taxes

For court ordered alimony installment payments, the paying party is generally able to deduct the payments on income taxes and the receiving party must claim them as income. Discuss your case with an attorney to find out the tax impact of your support arrangement.

Find an Alimony Attorney in West Virginia

You should inquire as to the possibility of paying or receiving alimony under the circumstances of your case. A family law attorney in West Virginia will know the practices of courts in your area, and it will advise you of your rights and obligations regarding alimony.

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