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Understanding alimony rights in a Virginia divorce

On Behalf of | May 27, 2023 | Family Law

The dissolution of a marriage brings about several challenges, one of which is the determination of alimony or spousal support. In Virginia, the court takes into account various factors to determine whether a spouse earns the right to receive alimony.

Understanding these factors can offer clarity and help ensure a fair resolution to your divorce proceedings.

The need for alimony

The court considers the financial needs and resources of each spouse, including their income, earning capacity and standard of living established during the marriage. If there is a significant disparity between the spouses in these areas, the court may deem alimony necessary.

The role of the court in alimony decisions

Contrary to common belief, it is not up to either spouse to decide whether to pay alimony or not. This decision rests solely with the court in Virginia. Even if one spouse refuses to pay alimony, the court has the power to enforce this obligation if it deems it appropriate and necessary.

Factors influencing alimony awards

The court considers several factors when determining the amount and duration of alimony. These include the length of the marriage, the contributions each spouse made to the family and their earning capacities, the age and health of the spouses and the circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage.

The importance of following court orders

Once the court issues an order for alimony, both spouses must adhere to it. If the paying spouse refuses to follow the court order, they can face legal consequences such as fines or even jail time for contempt of court.

Alimony plays a crucial role in ensuring that both parties can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce. While it may seem unfair to some, especially those ordered to pay, it is a legal obligation designed to promote fairness and balance.