Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

Gain Peace Of Mind For Your Spousal Support Issues – We Know How To Approach Them

Spousal support is one of the areas of Virginia family law with the greatest amount of uncertainty. There are no guidelines prescribed by the Virginia Code that govern all spousal support cases, making it difficult to predict what a court will do.

It is important to select a spousal support attorney who has experience in the court where your case will be heard. At Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., our lawyers can guide you in settlement negotiations with appropriate advice for any given spousal support or alimony situation.

The Deciding Factors And Their Influence On Your Situation

Spousal support determinations have two key components: duration and amount. When deciding the appropriate duration and amount of spousal support at a final hearing, courts must consider:

  • Various financial obligations
  • Marriage duration
  • The condition of the parties, including age and general well-being
  • Financial and other contributions to family well-being
  • Support for marital property
  • Capacity for financial earrings
  • Educational contributions of each party

There are many misconceptions about the duration of spousal support. The truth is that each case is fact-specific. Spousal support is not warranted in all cases.

A common misreading of the Virginia Code by clients is that the duration of spousal support is equal to half of the length of the marriage. While some parties may voluntarily agree upon a length of support equal to half the length of the marriage, there are many situations when spousal support is awarded for a shorter or longer period.

Spousal Support Amounts Vary Case By Case

The amount of spousal support is also difficult to predict. In some local jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County and Loudoun County, the courts will apply guideline support calculations for temporary support to enable both parties to function financially during the separation while they wait for a final hearing. However, it is reversible error for any court to consider the temporary guideline amounts of support at a final hearing.

As with support for children, a court may determine that a party is not employed at an appropriate level and is capable of earning more. If a court finds that a spouse is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed, it may impute income to him or her, by assigning a reasonable income to that person.

Recent Court Changes And How We Can Help

The taxability of spousal support and the ability of the payor to deduct spousal support from their income has changed under the most recent revisions to the tax code. This has implications for new agreements and may also impact court orders that are being modified after January 1, 2019.  At Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., our spousal support and alimony lawyers can walk you through the changes in the law and can help connect you with a CPA as necessary if you do not already have one but have questions that require that level of expertise prior to reaching a settlement.

Whether Spousal Support Or Alimony, Our Lawyers Are Ready

If you would like more information about what to expect when seeking spousal support or alimony or when facing a request for spousal support or alimony, contact our experienced divorce lawyers for an initial consultation. Reach us by calling 703-481-6063 or sending us an email.