Are You entitled to receive Spousal Support or Alimony in Virginia?

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney

Even if a couple has been thinking about divorce for a long time, it can be tough to make that final decision to break it off, because you both depend on each other for things in everyday life. There are many situations where one spouse makes all or most of the money and the other partner stays at home to take care of the house and children.

In a divorce action or separation agreement, spousal support is often awarded to that spouse who doesn't make enough money to continue to live in the accustomed way. The purpose of spousal support—often called alimony after a divorce is complete—is to give the recipient time to polish her/his job skills and education in order to re-enter the workforce.

The length of time, amount of money and frequency of payments will depend on your specific case, but there are certain things the Virginia courts will be looking at to determine your alimony award:

  • How much money each spouse makes, has and needs.
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage.
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • The age of each spouse, as well as any mental or physical conditions or special circumstances of the either spouse.
  • Whether or not it would be appropriate for one of the parties to not look for employment outside the home based on any of their children's ages, physical or mental conditions, or special circumstances.
  • The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible.
  • The earning capacity of each spouse, based on each person’s skills, education, training, and present employment opportunities.
  • The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a spouse to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability.

In addition, the judge has significant discretion to consider other factors or unique circumstances for the family in setting spousal support levels and the period support will last—or denying spousal support in a particular case.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce in Virginia, call 757-320-2010 today to contact the experienced Virginia Beach divorce lawyer at Hampton Roads Legal Services for a free phone consultation.

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