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Spousal Support

Legal Representation During a Divorce in Northern Virginia

In many marriages, one spouse is the primary income earner, while the other spouse focuses on maintaining the household or raising children. Thus, in many cases in which a couple decides to end their marriage, one spouse may be left at a financial disadvantage. The court may award spousal support to a lesser-earning spouse to try to make things equitable financially. If you are considering seeking a divorce, it is important to understand the financial ramifications of ending your marriage, including whether you may need to pay or may be owed spousal support. The dedicated Fairfax spousal support lawyers at Robinson Law are adept at helping people navigate the legal complexities of divorce. We can assist you in seeking a favorable outcome under the facts of your case.

Spousal Support Under Virginia Law

Either spouse can seek spousal support in a divorce action. Essentially, spousal support is intended to help a spouse with fewer assets or less income avoid financial hardship. In other words, a court will not award spousal support unless the party requesting it needs it, and the party from whom it is requested can pay it.

In assessing whether a party should be granted spousal support, the court will examine several factors, including each party’s financial obligations, needs, and resources. The court will consider income, retirement and profit-sharing plans, the mental and physical health of each spouse and of any children born of the marriage, and each spouse’s earning capacity. The court will also consider the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage, the length of the marriage, how any marital property has been divided, and the separate property that each party owns. Additionally, the court will consider whether one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s career or profession, decisions regarding employment made throughout the marriage, and any other relevant factors. Our spousal support attorneys can advise Fairfax residents on the impact that each factor may have on their case.

Notably, the court will also consider whether either party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage in determining whether to order spousal support. Permanent spousal support will generally not be awarded in cases in which the marriage ended due to the adultery of the party seeking support, unless the court finds that denying such support would result in a manifest injustice.

If a court determines that the facts of the case warrant an award of spousal support, it may award support to be paid in a lump sum, in periodic payments for an undefined or defined duration, or in a combination of payments. The court may also reserve a party’s right to receive support in the future, within certain parameters.

Modification of a Spousal Support Order

Either party can seek a modification of a spousal support order with the assistance of a Fairfax spousal support attorney by showing that a modification is necessary, due to a change in either party’s circumstances that is material. A material change will likely involve a party’s financial situation. For example, an increase or reduction in salary, or an increased debt obligation, may constitute a material change. If the party receiving support cohabitates for a year or more with another person with whom he or she is romantically involved, the party paying support can request a termination of the obligation. Additionally, if the party receiving spousal support remarries, the obligation of the party paying support will end on the date of the marriage. The party receiving support has a duty to notify the paying party of the remarriage and may owe the paying party restitution for any support paid after the remarriage. Spousal support obligations also terminate upon the death of either spouse.

Consult a Trusted Divorce Attorney

While people typically anticipate the emotional impact caused by the end of a marriage, they often do not consider the financial impact. At Robinson Law, we take pride in assertively advocating on behalf of our clients to help them seek their desired outcomes. Our spousal support lawyers assist people in Fairfax and in other areas of Northern Virginia. We can be contacted at (888) 259-9787 or through our form online to set up a meeting to discuss your case.