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.
Factors the court will consider
Spousal support, or alimony, is not a guarantee in every divorce. The purpose of this form of support is to provide a financial bridge for the lower-earning spouse so that he or she can maintain a certain quality of living while working to become self-sufficient. To determine a fair amount of alimony, the courts will consider the following factors:
- How much you need after asset division to ensure you do not suffer any unfair financial hardships
- The amount your ex is able to pay
- How long you were married
- The standard of lifestyle you enjoyed in the marriage
- Your age, health and earning ability as well as that of your spouse
A Virginia court may also consider the circumstances surrounding your divorce, such as whether one spouse committed adultery or behaved cruelly toward the other. The length of time during which you may receive alimony may vary. Most often, spousal support is a temporary arrangement, but if you were married for decades, the court may order support indefinitely. If this is the case, you may want your divorce order to include the requirement for your spouse to carry life insurance to ensure the continuation of your support.
Of course, if you should remarry, you will likely no longer receive alimony from your ex. Additionally, if your ex ever becomes unable to provide the amount the court orders, he or she may return to court for a modification unless your divorce order prevents this. To understand all the complexities of spousal support, you would be wise to reach out to a skilled attorney and to obtain a complete review of your spousal support agreement before you sign.