Spouse wants alimony. She works as a teacher in the Fairfax County School District. She is highly educated. I'm a military retiree as of 1 month ago. Just started a new job. There are no minor children. 2 children are over 21. Will I be required to pay alimony? Or what determines if I pay alimony?
Alimony is granted by courts in VA in a variety of circumstances, such as a long marriage (typically 10 years+), a non-working or disabled spouse, or very large differences in each spouse's income. The idea behind it is to help the spouse in need. There are more facts needed to know whether you will be required to pay alimony, such as the length of your marriage and how much money you both make. The children won't factor in (that would be a separate issue of child support).
The Court has the power to award a lump sum support payment, period support payments (such as monthly), or both. The factors for determining spousal support are set out in Virginia Code Ann. § 20-107.1 and they are:
1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
2. The standard of living established during the marriage;
3. The duration of the marriage;
4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;
5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;
6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;
9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;
10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;
11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;
12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and
13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
I wrote a great article on this topic on my blog. I am providing the link below. Please check it out for some additional information.
It sounds like you should probably take the time and trouble to talk to a good family attorney. That will help you get an idea of what to expect from litigation of the spousal support issue and other issues as well. When couples are informed by experienced counsel, they can decide to avoid the cost and uncertainty of litigation in favor of negotiation. The other attorneys here have pointed out what factors the court will consider. Virginia is notoriously unfriendly to spousal support (alimony) in comparison to other jurisdictions. But don't rely on that general principle: consult an attorney and get the benefit of their experience in the local courts.
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