Spousal maintenance (alimony), though not nearly as common a part of divorce agreements as it was 60 years ago, still plays a critical role in divorce proceedings, impacting the financial stability of both parties. If you reside in Virginia and spousal support is a pertinent issue in your divorce, you should contact Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law for excellent guidance and fine legal representation. 

What Spousal Support Is Designed To Cover

Virginia, along with other states, has witnessed significant legal reforms regarding alimony. Referred to as spousal maintenance, it is no longer viewed as a permanent entitlement but rather conceived as a means to facilitate the recipient’s transition to financial independence.

Depending on the type of spousal support, these funds are expected to provide essential living expenses for housing, food, household maintenance, and healthcare costs. Alimony is also a means of paying for college classes, training programs, or internships. Such support will permit a spouse who has sacrificed career advancement to care for children or support a spouse’s educational needs, to take their turn at preparing to move up on the pay scale.

Factors Considered When Deciding Spousal Support

Whether a divorcing couple negotiates spousal support on their own, with the help of well-grounded attorneys, or through the courts, factors that have to be taken into account when computing alimony include:

  • Financial needs and resources of each spouse
  • Earning capability of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s accumulated debt
  • Duration of the marriage (the longer the marriage, the more likely to result in alimony awards)
  • Contributions to the marriage, including both financial and nonfinancial ones, the latter being things like cleaning the home, doing laundry, doing repairs or construction, shopping, pet care, and childcare
  • Age and health (especially regarding earning potential) of each spouse

Different Types of Spousal Support, Each With a Different Purpose

As gender roles have changed noticeably in Virginia, state laws have also evolved. Now alimony is not a singular concept. There are several, separately defined types of spousal support:

  • Temporary Support is granted during the divorce process, to assist the lower-earning spouse until the divorce decree is final.
  • Rehabilitative Support provides short-term funds to enable the lower-income spouse to become self-sufficient through classes or job training.
  • Permanent Alimony is usually awarded only in long marriages, particularly if age or failing health precludes the possibility of one spouse gaining financial independence.
  • Reimbursement Alimony is considered when one spouse has significantly supported the other’s education or career advancement during the marriage (e.g. worked to put a spouse through medical or law school).
  • Lump-Sum Spousal Support is a one-time payment, instead of regular, ongoing support.

Impact of a Prenup on Alimony Arrangements

Prenuptial agreements are in much more frequent use now than they once were. More and more, as divorce has become increasingly common, prenups strike more newlyweds as practical rather than unromantic.

To many couples, it makes sense to sign papers that will possibly avoid future battles.

In Virginia, prenuptial agreements that include alimony stipulations are generally enforceable, provided they were entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of their terms.

Because prenups can limit or waive alimony rights, it is vital to have a savvy lawyer look over such an agreement before you sign it. If such an agreement is brought to court, the judge will scrutinize it to make certain it is fair and appropriate.

Why You Need Randall Borden To See You Through Spousal Support

Many people, eager to be perceived as independent and self-sufficient, may turn down the option of spousal support. Others may be self-effacing about the amount of time they put into caring for their children, redecorating, gardening, buying or making gifts, doing taxes, filling out insurance forms, etc. That’s why it’s important to have a spousal support attorney to keep you on track. The money you sign away during divorce negotiations is money you won’t get back.

Contact Our Experienced Fairfax Spousal Support Attorney Today

Don’t assume that you know which aspects of divorce negotiations to focus on and which to ignore. Now is the time to call a true professional to discuss in confidence whether you need spousal support as part of your divorce agreement and, if so, which type. It’s also important to learn whether you should expect to be paying out some type of spousal support by the time you sign your divorce agreement. Going through a divorce can be confusing and overwhelming. Contact Attorney Borden now to have a seasoned divorce attorney to keep you on course and protect your rights.