Alimony 101: Answers to Common Questions Regarding Virginia Spousal Support

A major issue certain to arise in your divorce case is alimony. How much will I receive, when will I receive it and for how long are all typical questions you are probably asking yourself. While alimony determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, here are answers to five of the most common questions regarding spousal support in Virginia.

alimony 101

How Is Alimony Determined?

If you and your ex-spouse have a decent or cordial relationship, you may be able to negotiate the amount of spousal support to be paid, when payments will be made, and for how long payments will be made, and incorporate these terms into your divorce settlement agreement. If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement, the court will make all spousal support decisions.

Can I Get Alimony Before My Divorce Is Finalized?

Yes. The court can grant you a temporary spousal support order while your divorce case is pending. Again, you and your spouse can agree on the amount of temporary support to be paid, or the court will decide. You and your ex will have to prepare monthly income and expense reports and submit them to the court. The judge will then make a temporary award of alimony based on your need for support and your ex-spouse’s ability to pay.

For How Long Do I Get Alimony?

Alimony can be paid in a one-time payment or periodic payments. These payments can be limited to a certain number of years, or for an unspecified duration.  By law, spousal support rights terminate upon the death of either spouse, or if the spouse receiving alimony remarries or cohabitates with someone else for at least a year.

What If The Court Decides?

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on the terms of any alimony payment(s), the court will decide. In making this determination, the court will consider:

– Obligations, needs and financial resources of the spouses, including income from pension, profit-sharing or retirement plans;

– Standard of living established during the marriage;

– Duration of the marriage;

– Age and physical and mental condition of the spouses, and any special family circumstances;

– Each spouse’s contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, to the well-being of the family;

– Each spouse’s financial assets;

– Provisions made with regard to distribution of the marital property;

– Extent to which age, condition of special circumstances of any child of the spouses would make it appropriate for one spouse to stay home;

– The extent to which either spouse contributed to the other’s education, training, career position or profession;

– The spouses’ earning capacity and the current employment opportunities for people with that earning capacity;

– Opportunity for and ability of the spouses to get education and training to enhance earning ability;

– Decisions regarding work and parenting that the spouses made during the marriage, and their effect on earning potential, including the length of time either spouse has been out of the job market;

– Provisions made with regard to distribution of the marital property; and

– Any other factors, including the tax consequences to each spouse, necessary to arrive at a fair result.

Who Pays Taxes On Spousal Support?

If you receive alimony, then you must declare your alimony payment(s) as income and pay taxes on it. Your ex-spouse will be able to deduct their payment(s) from their income for tax purposes. A related note: child support is neither taxable nor deductible on you and your ex-spouse’s taxes.

There are a number of issues and financial considerations to be aware of during a divorce. If you are currently going through a separation or are considering divorce, the family law attorneys at DiPietro Family Law Group are here for you. Call us today at (703) 370 – 5555 for a consultation.

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