While the role of the court in divorces cases is to ensure a fair settlement for both parties, there is no absolute right or entitlement to alimony in the state of Virginia.
Instead, courts determine whether the party seeking spousal support is eligible by reviewing the circumstances during and leading up to the end of the marriage.
In many families, one spouse makes career sacrifices to support the other and provide care for children or elderly family members. This makes securing adequate employment after a divorce difficult for many people. If a family court judge determines that a spouse needs financial support, there are several influences that determine the amount awarded. These factors include:
- Incomes and financial needs of each party
- Duration and standard of living during the marriage
- Decisions made by the couple regarding careers, education and parenting arrangements
- Length of time spent outside of the job market and future earning potential of each party
To determine spousal support amounts in cases where parties cannot agree, courts use the pendent lite guidelines:
- In cases with minor children, support equals 26% x payors income – 58% x payees income.
- In cases without minor children, support equals 27% x payors income – 50% x payees income.
Duration of spousal support
According to Virginia law, courts set spousal support awards for half the length of the marriage, except for unions that dissolve after 20 years, in which case judges may award permanent alimony.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand the potential financial impact on yourself and your family.