For many divorcing couples, spousal support can be a bone of contention. After all, some individuals may not want to have to continue supporting a former spouse via alimony payments. However, it is not uncommon for courts in Virginia to award alimony to spouses who earned less during the course of the marriage, who stayed home to raise the children or who have a lower earning potential than the other spouse.
One of the biggest concerns many individuals have when it comes to alimony is how much it will be and how long the payments will be made. The amount of alimony awarded by the court will differ on a case-by-case basis. Factors like income levels of both spouses, the length of the marriage, employability and various others will go into the court’s decision. When it comes to the duration of payments, one of the following types of alimony may apply:
- Lump sum: When the court awards lump sum alimony, it means the total amount owed will be paid in one payment. This sometimes occurs when a spouse is not technically eligible for alimony under state law but the court believes he or she deserves additional assets for fair or equal asset division.
- Permanent: As the name suggests, permanent alimony is paid for the duration of the receiving individual’s life or until he or she remarries.
- Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is paid to a former spouse on a temporary basis while he or she goes through training or educational courses to reenter the workforce and earn a living on his or her own.
- Temporary: Temporary alimony typically lasts five years or less, and the court generally awards this type of support to help the receiving individual get back on his or her feet after the divorce.
While one of these options may seem more ideal than the others, a Virginia family court judge will make the ultimate determination as to what type of alimony — if any — is to be paid to one of the soon-to-be ex-spouses. Those going through a divorce could benefit from seeking help and support from an experienced lawyer regarding alimony and any other family law-related issues unique to their situation.