Virginia Family Law Blog

Are you eligible for spousal support?

If your marriage is heading for divorce, one important concern you may have is whether you will be struggling financially in the years to come. This may be especially true if you have been married many years or if you depend on your spouse's income, such as if you left your career to take care of the children.

Achieving a fair division of marital property may alleviate some of your fears. However, spousal support can provide the assistance you need. After you and your spouse have completed asset division, the courts will determine the amount of spousal support, if any, that you will receive. By understanding how courts reach this decision, you may have a better idea of how to fight for the financial assistance you need.

Differences in financial views could contribute to divorce

When many Virginia residents get married, they often feel optimistic about the future. They may envision the happiness that they and their spouse will have together and the many adventures they will take. Of course, many marriages end in divorce, and this often happens because those hopeful ideas do not manifest into reality.

For example, some people may marry only to find that they and their spouse have very different views on important matters. One spouse may have amassed considerable wealth and is conscientious of spending, and the other may burn through cash without a worry. Unfortunately, this type of scenario can easily lead to strain on a marriage, and if the differences persist, it could spell divorce for the couple.

Should parents divorce or stay together for the kids?

Many people in Virginia and elsewhere live in unhappy relationships. They may do so for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons may be because they think that staying together will be better for the children than putting them through a divorce. However, parents who stay together but continue to fight may not provide an example of healthy relationships.

Some parents may think that they are making a sacrifice for the good of their children by remaining in high-conflict relationships. On the contrary, children who grew up with married parents who fought a lot are more likely to get divorced themselves. If parents in high-conflict relationships divorce, their children do not see as high a likelihood of getting divorced.

Prenups can offer divorce protection but still need to be fair

Being handed a prenuptial agreement could come as a shock to some Virginia residents. They may worry that their future spouse thinks that they will divorce or that something else is wrong with their relationship. While a prenup does not necessarily point to a relationship issue, individuals should still carefully look over such a document before signing.

Prenups are intended to protect the parties involved from certain difficulties that could arise during a divorce. However, these agreements are supposed to be fair for both parties. As a result, if one party creates a prenup with terms that favor him or her more significantly than the other party, it may be wise to pause before signing. Boundaries are not necessarily negative, but it is important that those boundaries are not detrimental to the other party.

Divorce can be complicated. Self-care is important.

Most Virginia residents do not get married with the intention of later ending that marriage. Of course, life often throws unpredictable circumstances at the majority of people, so even if individuals believe they have found the love of their life, it is possible for the marriage to end in divorce. Unfortunately, such an occurrence can be difficult to handle.

When going through such a life-changing event, it is important that individuals do not let their well-being fall to the wayside. It is far too easy to let negative emotions take over, especially when one person did not want the divorce. As a result, parties may want to focus on ways to maintain their physical and mental health during this time.

When is it beneficial to draft a prenuptial agreement?

After your engagement, you are probably excited to plan your wedding and start thinking about your new life with your spouse. During this time of excitement about the future, you may not be thinking about what will happen if the marriage ends at some point in the future. This may not seem romantic or necessary during this time, but it is actually smart to plan for this contingency.

One of the ways you can plan for this possibility is by drafting a prenuptial agreement. This is a legal contract that will outline how two spouses will divide marital property in the event of a divorce. You may assume that a prenup is something reserved only for the rich and famous, but in reality, there are benefits to these agreements for people of all income levels.

Deciding to divorce is a life-changing step

Indecision can take a toll on a person in many ways. When the choice that needs to be made pertains to something that could be life changing, it is understandable that individuals may have a difficult time making the decision. For example, some Virginia residents may be contemplating divorce but wonder whether it is right for them.

Making this type of decision certainly deserves to be thought about thoroughly. Of course, if individuals go back and forth and cannot decide what to do, they may start to see negative effects of that indecision, such as moodiness and inattention that affects their work and health and puts a strain on relationships with other loved ones. Because so much time and effort have gone into the marriage, it can be difficult for people to simply decide to walk away.

Remaining civil could help with child custody arrangements

No parent wants their decisions to negatively affect their children. Still, many Virginia parents may worry that getting divorced and having new child custody arrangements will have negative impacts on their kids. While it can certainly take time to adjust, parents can help make the transition easier for everyone involved.

If divorced couples choose to co-parent, they will continue working together to raise the children. This is becoming a popular custody arrangement, as it allows both parents to remain in their children's lives and allows the children to maintain healthy relationships with both parents. Of course, it also means that the parents have to continue to interact with each other. If parents want co-parenting to work, they may want to focus on remaining civil toward one another.

The role of therapy in helping children get through divorce

Regardless of the ages of children whose parents are getting divorced in Virginia, the emotional toll that such a significant change in the family dynamic creates, can undoubtedly affect them in numerous ways. While children are resilient in many ways, they often require committed love and understanding in being able to overcome the challenges associated with divorce. 

The reactions and responses of children whose parents are separated and working toward divorce will vary drastically depending on several notable factors. These factors may include the following:

  • The age of the children in the family. 
  • The relationships the children have with each of their parents. 
  • The environment the children have been brought up in. 
  • The presence or lack of a strong support group of friends and family. 
  • The unique behavioral and personality traits of each child. 

Detailing COBRA coverage guidelines

Many in Alexandria may view spousal support as being limited to alimony payments. Yet there may be other ways through which one is obligated to support their ex-spouse after their marriage has ended. Given that (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) over 67 percent of Americans have their health insurance coverage through a private plan, there is a strong possibility in many divorce cases that one spouse was covered under the other’s plan (which in most cases is offered through their employer). If that spouse is not able to immediately secure gainful employment (that offers benefits), are they to be left uncovered after their divorce becomes final?

Fortunately, federal lawmakers understand the potential for such a scenario occurring and have enacted legislation to address it. The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act allows people who are no longer affiliated with the organizations that sponsored their group health plan coverage to continue to have access to it. This allows them time to find new coverage without having to worry about being saddled with medical debt if they need to seek treatment before enrolling in a new plan. Information shared by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that in order to qualify for COBRA coverage, one’s case meets the following criteria:

  • Their group health plan coverage must have been sponsored by a company subject to COBRA regulations
  • They must be an eligible beneficiary of such coverage
  • They must have experienced a significant life event
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Russell W. Ray, PLLC
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