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Child Support & Spousal Support

During a divorce in Virginia, a court may order or the parties may agree to payment of many kinds of support, including child support and spousal support, which is sometimes called alimony.

As their names suggest, child support is meant to provide for the needs of the children, while the basic purpose of spousal support is to provide financial support to a lower-earning spouse. Given these differences, it likely comes as no surprise that these two types of support are calculated differently when left up to the court.

Virginia’s Child Support Guidelines

In Virginia, both parents are required to support their children. Therefore, when parents initiate divorce proceedings — or if they were never married — the court may order child support payments.

In most cases, child support in Virginia is determined using predetermined guidelines. Essentially, your income and your spouse’s income are entered into a mathematical formula to calculate support obligations. Then, in most circumstances, the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay his or her fair share to the custodial parent. (It is already assumed that the custodial parent is paying his or her share because he or she has primary custody of the child.)

Also, if you and your ex-spouse have shared or split custody, child support obligations may be adjusted — after all, the idea is that you must each pay your fair share.

Lastly, child support in Virginia can be modified in certain circumstances, such as when one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

Calculating Spousal Support

While child support is largely based on a formula, spousal support can vary greatly depending on the situation. Simply put, many variables may come into play. For instance, if a spouse commits adultery, he or she may not be entitled to spousal support. Other factors a court may consider when determining the amount and duration of spousal support include:

  • The standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married
  • The number of years the spouses were married
  • The needs, responsibilities and financial resources of both spouses, taking into account pensions, retirement plans and property interests
  • The earning capacity of both spouses, taking into account each one’s education and skills
  • The ages as well as the physical and mental conditions of both spouses
  • The contributions of both spouses to the well-being of the family, both monetary and nonmonetary
  • The extent to which one spouse may have contributed to the education, training or career of the other spouse

Even though spousal support payments can be ordered for varying periods of time, they will always end when the recipient gets remarried or either party dies.

Contact Wilson C. Pasley, PLC, Today For Legal Guidance

If you have questions about either child support or spousal support and need to speak to an experienced lawyer, contact Wilson C. Pasley, PLC, today. I can help explain you rights and legal options. Call me at 540-627-5026 or email me to schedule a consultation. I serve clients throughout Roanoke County and the surrounding area, including Rocky Mount, Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Bedford.

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