Alimony can be a contentious issue in a Fairfax, VA, divorce case. Both parties are adamant in their stance on whether the court should grant spousal support. The critical thing to remember is that alimony payments can significantly impact your future, regardless of whether you pay or receive support.
Hiring an experienced Fairfax alimony lawyer on your side is crucial. You need an advocate who will aggressively pursue your best interests. Otherwise, you might not receive the relief you need to protect your financial future.
At The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, our law practice exclusively focuses on divorces and other family law matters. Our Fairfax divorce lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of divorce cases. Our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers comfortable arguing cases in court and aggressive negotiators who understand the best methods for negotiating fair divorce settlements.
Contact The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury at (703) 271-6519 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Fairfax alimony attorney. We are here to help you when you need trusted legal advice and a fierce advocate on your side.
How Our Fairfax Divorce Lawyers Can Help You With Issues Related to Alimony in Virginia
The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury was founded to help individuals navigate one of the most challenging phases of their lives. We provide advice, guidance, and support throughout your case. Our Virginia family law attorneys put your needs and best interests first.
Our legal team is led by our founding attorney Afsana Chowdhury. She is an accomplished Fairfax family lawyer with perfect 10.0 ratings on Justia and Avvo. The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys and Expertise.com have recognized Attorney Chowdhury for her legal expertise and dedication to client satisfaction.
When you hire our top-rated Virginia divorce lawyers, we can handle all matters related to your case, including:
- Explain Virginia alimony laws and how they impact your case
- Assist in preparing financial statements to ensure all income and expenses are included
- Gather evidence to support your position regarding alimony
- Work with forensic accountants and other experts if there is a suspicion your spouse is concealing income, resources, and/or assets
- Engage in productive negotiations to resolve alimony issues through settlement
- Argue your case before a judge and present the best possible case to achieve the outcome you desire
When you end a marriage, the financial elements should be fair and equitable, including spousal support obligations. You have the right to move forward with your life with the resources necessary to continue your standard of living. Alimony impacts that ability, so you need an attorney who will work to ensure your alimony settlement is fair.
Call our law office to schedule a
case evaluation with an experienced Fairfax alimony attorney. Your meeting is private and confidential.
How Do Judges Determine Spousal Support in Virginia?
Often, spouses can reach a settlement regarding alimony. Settlements are often better for the parties because they can tailor an agreement based on their unique situation. Otherwise, the question of alimony is left up to the judge’s broad discretion.
Alimony helps ensure that one spouse is not devastated financially after the marriage ends. For example, a spouse was a homemaker for 20 years and is now suddenly divorced and without a job to support themselves. Alimony helps provide the financial means to pay living expenses and bills.
Before a judge determines the duration and amount of alimony, they must decide whether an award of spousal support is appropriate. Usually, that means the judge finds that one spouse needs financial support and the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony payments.
However, the law specifically directs a judge to consider the factors and circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage. The judge should consider adultery and other grounds for divorce when deciding whether to grant alimony.
Alimony is not guaranteed by law in Virginia. Instead, the decision is left to the judge. If the judge decides alimony is appropriate in your case, the judge must decide the amount and duration of alimony payments.
Factors Judges Consider When Awarding Alimony in Fairfax, VA
Virginia Code §20-107.1(E) provides a list of 13 factors the judge must consider when determining the duration and amount of an award for spousal support. Those factors are:
- The financial resources, needs, and obligations of each spouse;
- The length of the marriage;
- The standard of living the spouses enjoyed during the marriage;
- Each spouse’s contributions to the family’s well-being, including monetary and non-monetary contributions;
- The age, mental condition, and physical health of the spouses and any special circumstances for the family;
- The extent to which a child’s special circumstances, physical condition, age, or mental condition makes it appropriate that a spouse should not try to work outside of the home;
- The division of marital property;
- Each spouse’s interest in real and personal, tangible and intangible property
- The earning potential for each spouse, including their skills, training, education, and present employment opportunities;
- The ability of a spouse to acquire the training, education, and employment to improve their earning potential, including the spouse’s ability and the time and costs involved;
- The extent to which a spouse contributed to the training, education, profession, or career of the other spouse;
- The decisions the spouses made during the marriage regarding careers, parenting, employment, education, and economics and how those decisions impact their earning potential now; and,
- Other factors that are relevant to the case at hand
Our Fairfax alimony lawyers analyze the evidence related to each factor the judge considers. Our legal team then works to develop a strategy and argument to present the evidence in a manner that supports your position regarding alimony payments.
How Long Does Alimony Continue in Virginia?
The other issue a judge must determine is how long should the alimony payments continue. In Virginia, there are three primary forms of alimony that the court award. A judge could order alimony payments for:
Judges may grant spousal support while the case is pending. Temporary alimony is designed to provide financial support until a final decision is made or the court terminates the temporary alimony payments. Temporary alimony helps prevent a spouse from coercing the other spouse into accepting an unfair divorce settlement because that spouse cannot afford to support themselves and needs money.
This type of alimony has a defined duration. The judge orders a spouse to pay rehabilitative alimony for a specific number of months or years. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to give a lower-earning spouse the time to acquire education, training, experience, and skills to earn income to support themselves.
Permanent alimony is usually reserved for spouses in long-term marriages. The alimony payments continue until one of the spouses dies or the spouse receiving alimony gets remarried or cohabits with another person.
Modification of Alimony Payments in Fairfax, VA
Changes in circumstances may justify a modification of spousal support payments. The modification of alimony statute gives an ex-spouse the right to petition the court to increase, decrease, or terminate alimony payments. A party can also ask to change the duration of alimony payments.
However, the party requesting the modification must prove a material change in circumstances has occurred that makes the modification “proper.” The parties must not have been able to reasonably contemplate the change at the time of their divorce.
The statute lists several factors the judge can consider when deciding whether to modify alimony payments. Those factors are:
- The health and age of the parties;
- The amount and duration of alimony paid to date;
- The property or assets of each party during the period between the date of the alimony order and the filing of the petition for modification or termination;
- Whether a party’s retirement was voluntary or involuntary and the terms and conditions of retirement;
- If the party’s retirement will change the income of either party; and,
- Whether the court contemplated retirement when it issued the spousal support order.
Additionally, the judge may consider the factors used to determine the original spousal support award from Virginia Code §20-107.1(E), as listed above.
Proving that a modification or termination request is justified can be challenging. The other party has the right to present evidence arguing against the modification. If you believe your alimony payments should be modified, contact our Fairfax alimony modification lawyers to discuss your situation.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Fairfax Alimony Lawyers
Our Fairfax family lawyers at The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury focus on achieving the best outcome available for your divorce case. Each marriage and divorce is unique. We’ll personalize an approach for your case that recognizes the facts and circumstances involved in your situation.