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Spousal Support

After a divorce, you will need to decide upon several matters, including spousal support. For the best possible outcome, you should contact a highly qualified Northern Virginia spousal support lawyer to guide you. At Williams Stone, PC, we will advise you on different matters relating to spousal support in Virginia. We work with clients in Stafford County, Fredericksburg, Prince William County and Spotsylvania County. We also welcome your call from any other area within Virginia. There are different factors to be considered before the court of law can decide on your spousal support case.

How Spousal Support Is Determined In Virginia

The guidelines for spousal support in Virginia are not set in stone. The general factor for determining who pays how much and for how long is based on one spouse’s financial need against the other’s ability to pay. The guidelines are somewhat similar to Virginia’s child support laws to determine temporary support.

Can Support Be Granted Before Final Settlement Of Divorce?

Yes, the court in Virginia can decide to offer spousal support to a certain spouse even if the final divorce has not been granted yet. You can decide to agree on a certain amount which one spouse will pay the other as support. In case you do not reach an agreement on an amount, the court will decide for you. In addition to income, there are other factors taken into consideration before a final spousal support amount is set. Contact Williams Stone, PC, to learn more about Virginia spousal support laws.

Can Spousal Support Ever Be Barred?

Yes, the court will not award spousal support if it is found the spouse set to receive the support has committed adultery. However, there are many caveats to this, and proving adultery can often be very difficult.

Factors Considered In A Spousal Support Determination

Some of the factors taken into consideration for spousal support in Virginia include:

  • Obligations of the spouse
  • Wages, income from pension and retirement plans among other sources of income
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage
  • Duration of marriage
  • The physical and mental condition of the spousal during divorce
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the well-being of the family
  • Each spouse’s financial assets
  • Provisions that may have been made regarding the distribution of property
  • The extent to which the spouse may have been contributing to the expenses of the family
  • Earning opportunities available for the spouse
  • The ability of the spouse to access education and other training that can enhance the earning capability of the spouse
  • Taxes and other financial obligations

Can I Get Permanent Support?

You can decide to have the support in a lump sum or payments spread over a certain period of time. You and your spouse may agree on which situation is best for both of you, or you can have the court decide.

Permanent support continues indefinitely and is primarily in long-term marriages. Certain events can cause the permanent alimony to end such as the death of the spouse paying alimony, the death of the spouse receiving alimony, remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony or long-term cohabitation with another individual in a relationship analogous to marriage.

Can The Spousal Support Amount Be Changed Later?

The spousal support amount will not change unless the property settlement agreement allows for modifications. If your support amount was determined by the courts, either side may later come back to court and request a change based on a material change in circumstances. Further, if the recipient spouse has been living with another person in a marriage-like relationship for one year or more, the spouse who is paying may petition the court to terminate the agreement.

How Do I Enforce A Support Order?

If one spouse is ordered to pay spousal support and does not pay, you can take it to court as the receiving spouse. This process is called a “show cause.” Virginia courts have several enforcement options available to them. Courts may choose to order the paying spouse to pay all past-due support payments and become current, order the arrears to be paid with an additional monthly amount to catch up, tack on interest to the total amount owed, order the sale of property you might own, garnishment of paychecks via an income deduction order and it can even go as far as to arrest for contempt of court.

Who Pays Taxes On The Support?

The receiving spouse must declare spousal support as income in Virginia. If you are the one paying the support, you are entitled to deduct the amount paid from your income for tax purposes.

Some lump-sum payments between spouses may be considered spousal support for tax purposes as well. It is best you contact us to discuss your situation and learn more. Our offices are conveniently located in both Stafford and Fredericksburg.