Trusted Alimony Attorneys Serving Northern Virginia
Alimony, known as "spousal support" in Virginia, is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Unlike child support, Virginia courts do not refer to a set of state guidelines to determine spousal support. This gives courts a great amount of discretion, which can be either a blessing or a curse depending on how you handle your case.
Spousal support is not always an issue in many divorce cases since it tends to come into play when the spouses have been married for a long time and one spouse’s income significantly exceeds the other’s. Even then, a spouse who is proven to have committed adultery can be barred from receiving spousal support.
Virginia courts encourage parties to come to a written agreement on spousal support. If an agreement has not been reached, then the court will decide the issue. Generally speaking, negotiated solutions tend to work better in the long run, they can be customized to the parties’ circumstances and tend to have a higher rate of compliance.
Spousal support agreements must be drafted with great care to avoid unintended consequences. Many factors must be taken into account, and contingencies must be considered. More than anything else, a spousal support agreement must be harmonized in the context of an overall resolution to all of the issues that a divorce affects.
A Word from One of Our Clients
"Brian Hirsch is a highly knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy attorney.
He has lot of patience and understanding and always took time to listen to what I had to say, answered my questions and always guided me through my difficult times and made me stay focused in my stressful and emotional situations. He always had my best interest in mind and his honest advice gave me confidence and a strong sense of security throughout the legal process."
Some of Our Other Practice Areas:
We practice in the following related areas:
- Divorce Mediation
- Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements
- Separation Agreements
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Property Division
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What factors determine the amount of spousal support in court?
A court may take many factors into consideration. Among the most important are:
- The duration of the marriage
- The earning ability and needs of the parties
- The extent to which a party has been absent from the job market due to parenting or other family commitments
- The extent to which one spouse contributed to the educational or career attainments of the other spouse
- The age and mental condition of each spouse
What are the issues that matter most in spousal support negotiations?
The most important issues to be resolved during spousal support negotiations are usually:
- The amount of the support;
- The duration of the support (it almost always comes to an end sooner or later); and
- The conditions necessary for modification of the amount or duration of support.
I need money right away. Can I receive spousal support before my case is resolved?
Yes, if you qualify. Virginia calls this "pendente lite" spousal support. Courts regularly order pendente lite spousal support, and will often determine the amount by referencing a formula.
Under what circumstances will spousal support be discontinued?
Spousal support can be discontinued under the following circumstances:
- The death of the beneficiary spouse
- The remarriage of the beneficiary spouse
- The beneficiary spouse has been living with another person in a marriage-like arrangement for one year or more
Don’t Get Trapped by Circumstances – Act Quickly
It is said that the glue of circumstances hardens quickly around your feet. Nowhere is this saying more appropriate than in a divorce. Spousal support is only one of many issues that will need to be resolved, and each issue intimately affects every other issue. The sooner you get a professional on board, the more likely you are to achieve a successful resolution.
If you would like more information on the best way to arrange a fair resolution of your spousal support issue (especially in the context of the related issues that you must also face), take a look at the services we provide and feel free to contact Hirsch & Ehlenberger PC to set up an appointment for an initial consultation.