When two people divorce, one of the former spouses may be required to pay alimony or spousal support to the other. Alimony awards in a divorce depend upon a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, discrepancy in earning power, and other relevant factors.
Alimony is often a contentious issue in a Virginia divorce, but the lawyers at Nichols Zauzig can help you fight for your legal rights during an alimony dispute. We have successfully represented countless individuals seeking alimony or seeking to reduce or eliminate alimony during a divorce, and we can put our legal knowledge and expertise to work for you.
When is alimony awarded?
Alimony, or spousal support, is money paid from one spouse to another to provide financial support following the divorce. For income tax purposes, alimony is declared as income by the receiving spouse and the paying spouse may take a tax deduction for the amount paid. The divorcing parties may negotiate an alimony arrangement on their own or the court may award alimony.
Alimony is typically awarded in long-term marriages and in situations where one spouse is earning, or has the potential to earn, a higher income than the other. For instance, if one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent and the other has a successful career, the working spouse may be required to pay alimony to the non-working spouse.
What are the two types of alimony in Virginia?
Alimony takes two forms in Virginia: indefinite alimony and limited duration alimony. Indefinite alimony is alimony paid for the remainder of the recipient’s life, unless or until the recipient remarries or the court modifies or terminates the award. Lifetime alimony is typically awarded where there is a discrepancy in earning power that is unlikely to be resolved. For instance, if one spouse is disabled or has been out of the workforce for a long time and would be unable to increase his or her ability to earn a substantial living, then the court may award that spouse lifetime alimony.
When is limited duration alimony awarded?
Limited duration alimony is awarded in situations where one spouse needs time to get back on his or her feet and increase his or her earning power. For example, if one spouse has the potential to return to work and earn a substantial income in a year or two when the kids are grown, or if one spouse just needs a refresher class or a license renewal before he or she can begin working, then limited duration alimony may be appropriate. Limited duration alimony gives the recipient the support he or she needs while such support is necessary, but recognizes that the support will not always be required.
Getting legal help
Alimony is extremely important to the recipients, but often aggravating to the payers. At Nichols Zauzig, we help clients to obtain alimony payments, as well as clients fighting to prevent, modify or reduce alimony payments.
For help with alimony or any other divorce-related dispute, contact the experienced Virginia divorce attorneys at Nichols Zauzig. With three convenient locations in Woodbridge, Manassas and Stafford, we are available to clients throughout Northern Virginia.