Financial issues are usually a point of contention between spouses seeking divorce. Resolving whether or not spousal support will be awarded, how much, and for how long can be a complicated legal matter that can create frustrations for both parties. But at Raheen Law Group, we understand the emotional hardship and legal obstacles involved and can help you through difficult process.
Spousal support (alimony) laws are based on the basic principle that spouses have a legal obligation to support each other during their marriage, separation, and/or divorce. Spousal support is payment made by one party to the other and could be during, before, or after a divorce. Spousal support can be awarded through a court order or by mutual agreement. The determination and guidelines for spousal support varies state by state. In Virginia, spouses are financially responsible for each other, including for each other’s debts until divorce. In cases of great disparities in income between the two parties, if necessary, the court can grant financial spousal support to the party in need. Virginia spousal support laws break down spousal support into three categories: permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and pedente lite alimony.
According to Virginia permanent alimony laws, one party can be entitled to receive financial spousal support from the other party until his or her death. Under Virginia spousal support laws, the factors examined for permanent alimony by the courts are: the needs of both parties, the financial resources of the parties, the lifestyle, health, and age of both spouses, length of their marriage, cohabitation with another partner, and the earning capacity and future financial prospects of both parties.
Under rehabilitative alimony (also referred to as “defined duration support”), the financially dependent spouse can be prepared for and transitioned into a state of financial independence. The Virginia General Assembly created this category in contrast to the traditional awards of either a lump sum or periodic payments of support. It is not meant to be permanent support. Perhaps a spouse that was a financially dependent homemaker might need financial help to acquire skills or education necessary for employment before becoming financially independent. In such a situation, a plan can be designed so that the dependent spouse becomes self-supporting after a period of time.
According to Virginia pedente lite alimony (temporary alimony during litigation) laws, the financially dependent spouse receives support during the litigation and until the divorce is finalized. It does not guarantee permanent or rehabilitative spousal support. Rather pedente lite alimony is meant to temporarily help one spouse until permanent or rehabilitative spousal support is established. Under Virginia spousal support laws, the factors examined for pedente lite alimony are: the needs of both of the parties, their expenses and finances during their marriage, and the amount of spousal support requested by the financially dependent party.
Spousal support can be very crucial for a financially dependent spouse, especially for a former homemaker or in-home parent who needs to attain certain skills or level of education to go to work and stand on his or her own feet. If you are in that situation, you could be entitled to spousal support.
On the other hand, if you are requested to pay spousal support but lack the financial capacity to meet the requested amount of support, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options. Regardless of whichever category of spousal support you are confronted with, Raheen Law Group has the know-how and experience to help you achieve your desired outcome. If you wish to speak with us about your situation, please contact us for a consultation.