27 Mar 2014
Virginia law allows courts to impose spousal support when a couple chooses to divorce. Courts have wide discretion in awarding spousal support, and relatively recent changes to the law have actually increased that discretion. For example, proof of marital misconduct once barred the at-fault party from obtaining spousal support, but now courts may still award spousal support to prevent “manifest injustice” based on each party’s relative fault as well as the relative economic circumstances of the people involved. Because of the broad discretion that judges have, it is important for anyone who is a party to a proceeding in which spousal support is at issue to consult with an experienced Virginia family law attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will present your case in the best light possible, and can often make a significant difference in the outcome of your spousal support issue.
If a court chooses to award spousal support, there are several factors that are considering in determining the amount. These factors are set out in Virginia Code § 20-107.1, and include the following:
- The financial needs and obligations of each party
- The standard of living the couple had during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The age and mental condition of the parties, as well as any other special family circumstances
- Whether there are issues that make it appropriate that one party not seek employment outside of the home
- Each party’s contribution to the well-being of the family
- The property interests of each party
- The way in which the marital property is distributed in the divorce
- The earning potential of each party, as well as their present employment opportunities
- Each party’s ability to increase their earning potential through education and training
- The way the marriage affected the parties’ current and future earning potential
- The extent to which either party helped the other further their education and career
- Other factors necessary to ensure an equitable result
People who are involved in spousal support disputes can present evidence to the court in support of their position. An attorney familiar with spousal support proceedings can assist you in presenting your position to the court in the strongest way possible.
Contact a Virginia Family Law Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
Attorney Raymond Benzinger is a skilled family law attorney who has over 4 decades of representing clients in Virginia courts. He is dedicated to helping those with family law issues bring their cases to the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation, call the Law Office of Raymond B. Benzinger at (703) 312-0410. To send us an email, please fill out and submit the contact form available here.