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Divorce Financial Planning Northern Virginia | Do I Qualify for Alimony or Support?

Divorce Financial Planning

Facing the prospect of divorce, many spouses wonder ‘Do I Qualify for Alimony or Support’ in Virginia? Virginia law does not lay out the exact parameters for who qualifies for alimony or support.

So, let’s look at the factors a judge may consider when determining the need for spousal support.

divorce financial planning northern virginia

It’s Not Automatic

Many wonder who qualifies for spousal support or how long you have to be married to qualify for alimony. Nowhere in Virginia code does it outline such a situation in which support is mandatory.

However, a judge must consider certain criteria when considering whether to award alimony.

The judge will likely look at:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • Age/physical condition/mental condition of both spouses;
  • Any special circumstances of the family that may require one spouse not seek employment;
  • How each spouse contributed financially to the marriage;
  • The employability of each spouse; or the time it may take to acquire the proper education;
  • Retirement savings and accounts;
  • Tax consequences.

[Related: The Importance of Estate Planning and Financial Advisors ]

Pendente Lite Formula

Some courts in Northern Virginia favor using a formula to answer, “Do I qualify for alimony or support.” The pendente lite formula made it possible to come to a quick calculation when a decision on the amount of support needed to be made quickly.

However, some courts now favor using it in most circumstances.

Tax Consequences of Alimony and Support

The pendente lite formula does not take into account the tax consequences of alimony and support. In fact, tax liabilities for spousal support changed starting January 1, 2019.

The complexities of spousal support for both parties merit a meeting with a financial professional who can properly assess the long term consequences paying or accepting support.

[Related: Certified Divorce Financial Analyst | Defining Division of Assets During Divorce ]

How Long Will I Receive Support?

Judges use several criteria to determine the duration of spousal support, but typically the biggest factor is the length of the marriage. Virginia typically awards support for 50% the duration of the marriage.

Can My Spousal Support Be Modified?

In Virginia, a property settlement agreement needs to be written, and in it will be the guidance that states whether the spousal support is modifiable. Generally, both spouses’ legal teams define clear terms whereby the support would be modified.

Furthermore, certain circumstances warrant termination of spousal support. If the receiving spouse gets married again, he or she is no longer eligible for spousal support.

If either the paying or receiving spouse dies, there will be no more spousal support paid. Beyond that, if the receiving spouse cohabitates with someone in marital-type relationship, spousal support will be terminated.

Divorce Financial Planning Northern Virginia

When facing divorce, seeking independent financial advice is more than practical. Legal personnel aren’t always best equipped to make long term evaluations on the financial impact of divorce.

Furthermore, there’s a tendency for spouses to overlook unforeseen costs or needs in the future.

Argent Bridge Advisors has the professionals available to help guide you through the financial implications of divorce.

To learn more about Argent Bridge, click here or call (833) 568-4900.