Virginia Spousal Support Calculation Basics

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 by Hofheimer Family Law

Spousal support is always a tricky issue. It’s also pretty emotionally charged, because everyone wants to receive it and no one wants to pay it. Not everyone qualifies to receive it, though, because there are specific, limited criteria in place that the court must consider.

How do I know if I qualify for spousal support in Virginia?

Spousal support is based, first and foremost, on whether you have a need, and whether he has an ability to pay. It’s pretty easy to show the court that you have a need. You will also have to show that he has an ability to pay. This analysis is based entirely on income. Simply put, he will have to make significantly more than you in order for you to qualify. If you make almost the same amount or more than he does, you won’t qualify.

Are there any other factors considered when determining spousal support?

Yes. The statute also provides factors. Learn more about spousal support considerations.

Just to give you an idea, though, here are the types of things the statute is designed to consider.

  • age and health of the parties;
  • duration of the marriage;
  • monetary and non-monetary contributions of both parties;
  • earning capacity of both parties (including skills, education, and training); and
  • property interests of the parties

The factors allow the judge to weigh the specific circumstances and determine whether an award of support is warranted.

Duration of Marriage & Permanent Spousal Support

The judge would probably also consider the duration of your marriage. Permanent spousal support is usually awarded only in long-term marriages (where all the other factors support an award of spousal support); temporary support, on the other hand, is awarded in shorter -term marriages.