Spousal Support Lawyer Fairfax
A spousal support obligation arises when married parties separate and one party makes significantly more than the other. In Virginia, spousal support is calculated by taking 30% of the payors income and subtracting 50% of the payee’s income. Spousal support is considered income to the receiving party. It can be awarded on a temporary basis while the divorce is pending and it can be awarded either for a fixed duration or permanently at the final divorce hearing. When determining the amount and duration of an award the court considers the factors that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage and the following factors listed in Virginia Code §20-107.1:
1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
2. The standard of living established during the marriage;
3. The duration of the marriage;
4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;
5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;
6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;
9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;
10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;
11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;
12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and
13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
Spousal support can be modifiable or non-modifiable depending on the agreement or order of the judge. If your support order is modifiable, you may be able to petition the court to increase or decrease the amount based on a change in income or significant disability. It is also often necessary to bring a non-paying party to court on what is called a “rule to show cause” or contempt proceeding. Our attorneys have experience in enforcing support orders and have been successful in obtaining judgments against delinquent parties that also include attorney’s fees awards.