Spousal Support Attorneys Serving Northern Virginia
Alimony in Virginia is referred to as Spousal Support. As is evident by the name, this is support due to your spouse upon separation or divorce. Spousal Support or Alimony is often decided by the Court in a divorce matter in the Circuit Court. However, it can sometimes be decided in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, as well, although not as common.
In Virginia, one can obtain temporary spousal support (or Pendente Lite Support) during the waiting period between filing for your divorce and waiting for your final divorce trial. For many reasons, your divorce trial is either months or over a year away from when you actually file your Complaint for Divorce. During this period, one can ask the Court for an award of temporary spousal support or Pendente Lite support to ensure you can support yourself.
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Pendente Lite Support
For temporary or Pendente Lite support, the Court is required to use Virginia Spousal Support guidelines to determine the presumptive amount of spousal support. This is presumptive, which means a different amount can be awarded, if certain situations exist. These Guidelines are applied in both Circuit Court and Juvenile Court cases. Pendente Lite guidelines also do not apply if the parties' gross incomes are over $10,000 a month. The Court must then apply the factors enumerated in Virginia Code 20-107.1 in determining a Pendente Lite Spousal Support Amount.
Permanent Spousal Support
When determining spousal support at a divorce trial or a final spousal support hearing, the Court must take into consideration the factors enumerated in Virginia Code Section 20-107.1 when determining the amount and duration of spousal support. The Court is given a great deal of discretion when awarding spousal support and as such, it is often hard to predict what will happen in a final divorce proceeding. It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to know your rights related to spousal support.
For permanent support, people sometimes believe there is a formula or a specific number of years the court must award. This is not the case. Just because one is married for over twenty years, it does not necessarily mean that person will be awarded indefinite support. Additionally, some people assume that half the duration of the marriage will be awarded. This is also not the case.
Since spousal support cases are so discretionary and there are several factors the court considers, it is really important to find an attorney who has experience dealing with spousal support cases. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action, whether to employ any vocational experts if your spouse is underemployed or unemployed, and whether it is better to settle your case or take your chances with the Court.
Camellia Safi has many years of experience dealing with different types of spousal support cases, including very complicated ones that require imputation of income and analysis of actual business income by an expert.