Spousal Support Attorney

Spousal support (sometimes called alimony or spousal maintenance) is designed to achieve a fair financial balance between divorcing spouses with drastically differing incomes. It also serves to ease the transition through the divorce process and into post-divorce life.

Virginia does not impose formal statewide guidelines for calculating spousal support. Instead, much depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Typically, this analysis involves balancing one spouse's financial needs against the other's ability to pay support. The length of the marriage and the outcome of property division are also relevant.

Types Of Spousal Support

Spousal support is often awarded as a monthly obligation. It can take many forms, including:

  • Temporary support: Also called "pendente lite," this form of support imposes a monthly obligation only while the divorce proceedings are underway.
  • Rehabilitative support: Another form of temporary support, this type of award extends for months or years following the final divorce decree. Its purpose is to assist the recipient spouse in re-entering the workforce and becoming self-supporting.
  • Permanent: Long-term support awards typically arise in long-term marriages. They are not necessarily permanent; the awards can be terminated due to the recipient's remarriage, the obligor's death and certain other circumstances.
  • Lump sum: Parties can negotiate a one-time payment in lieu of a recurring obligation. Courts also sometimes award lump-sum alimony when doing so makes sense for the parties' financial situation.

Spousal support is not always awarded in every divorce case. Short-term marriages, for example — as well as divorce cases involving adultery or relatively balanced earning capacities between the parties — may not be strong candidates for spousal support.

Discuss Your Case With A Veteran Family Law Attorney

Because spousal support involves case-specific factors, it is critical to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney about the circumstances of your situation.

In Woodbridge, spousal support lawyer Sally Hook Merchak at Ryland & Merchak, PC, is a veteran family law attorney with nearly four decades of experience. Whether you are seeking or opposing spousal support, our firm will assess your situation and work hard to advance your interests. We also represent those seeking to modify a spousal support order and those opposing a proposed modification.

Our firm handles family law cases throughout Northern Virginia. We invite you to contact us at 703-496-5273 for a confidential consultation.