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Spousal Support Attorney in Virginia Beach
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Spousal support options are available when there is an income gap between separating or divorcing spouses. This financial arrangement can be determined by the spouses or dictated by the court. The point of spousal support, or alimony, is to ensure that the lower-income spouse can live at a similar economic level following the divorce.
Spousal Support in Virginia
Virginia does not have a set standard in determining the amount of spousal support a person can receive; in fact, it will be greatly dependent on the financial situations of both parties. It can take up to a year for a court to determine permanent spousal support. It’s highly recommended that you retain the services of a family law attorney to assist you in navigating the regulations of local jurisdictions.
Types of spousal support:
- Temporary spousal support—is temporarily awarded during a separation and prior to a divorce being finalized.
- Rehabilitative spousal support—is temporarily awarded to the dependent spouse when they are relocating or attempting to gain employment.
- Permanent spousal support—is awarded to the dependent spouse indefinitely until the dependent spouse remarries or either party passes away.
Changes in Spousal Support Tax Benefits
Before 2019, the paying spouse receive tax benefits from their spousal support payments. The Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA) of 2017 removed this benefit. In response, Virginia has altered its spousal support structure to help people who pay spousal support.
Virginia’s Current Child Support Formula
Virginia created a new spousal support structure and passed it into law on July 1, 2020.
Spouses with No Minor Children
Virginia subtracts 50% of the receiving spouse’s income from 27% of the payor’s income.
Put simply, Sally pays spousal support to Jim. She makes $100,000 per year, and Jim makes $45,000 per year. Twenty-seven percent of $100,000 is $27,000. Fifty percent of $45,000 is $22,500.
- Sally’s spousal support formula is:
- $27,000 - $22,500
- Therefore, Sally should expect to pay Jim $4,500 for each year of spousal support.
Spouses with Minor Children
Let’s look at the same couple above, this time assuming assume they share a five-year-old child. To compensate for child support, Virginia has adjusted Sally’s spousal support duties. In this scenario, Virginia subtracts 58% of the receiving spouse’s income from 26% of the payor’s income.
- Twenty-six percent of Sally’s income is $26,000, and fifty-eight percent of Jim’s income is $26,100. Their formula looks like this:
- $26,000 - $26,100
- In this situation, the difference is negative, so the court may not order Sally to pay child support. In some situations, it could even ask Jim to pay Sally $100 per year.
Our team can help negotiate a fair spousal support payment. If you require support, we can help ensure that you won’t be left struggling after your divorce. If you are the payor, our job is to make sure payments are reasonable, and your lifestyle is not severely impacted.
Other Factors Influencing Spousal Support
Remember that income is not the only factor in a spousal support ruling. Even in a situation where the formula produces a negative number, the higher-earning spouse could make payments. Income is a large part of any Virginia spousal support ruling, but a court has many other factors to consider.
The court may also consider elements such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Evidence of abuse in the marriage
- The spouses’ current standard of living
The receiving spouse’s employability is one of the most important considerations. Spousal support, by nature, is there to keep one spouse afloat after the marriage ends. For example, it would be unfair and unrealistic to assume a stay-at-home parent could immediately secure a job after a divorce.
When determining the receiving spouse’s employability, the court considers this person’s:
- Job skills
- Job history
- Health – this includes any disabilities or chronic health problems, mental illnesses, and so on.
There is no perfect, scientific way to use the above elements in a spousal support ruling. The court is run by people who are capable of making mistakes. Whether you are paying or receiving support, you need a strong legal team by your side to make sure support payments are fair and reasonable. Let our team do this work for you.
Spousal Support and Adultery
Virginia can cut off spousal support if the paying spouse proves that the receiving spouse committed adultery during the marriage.
Such claims are often difficult to prove in court. Doing so requires building a case much like you would in a civil trial. You need evidence, witnesses, and so on. Our team can conduct thorough investigations into adultery claims. We can defend those who are wrongfully accused, and we can help prove infidelity for those whose spouses were unfaithful.
Virginia has very complex laws and regulations regarding spousal support. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller if you have any questions about your spousal support options. When you schedule a consultation with our family law attorney, you will be given the opportunity to explain your circumstances and learn how the law can benefit you.
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