Alimony is a payment that is ordered to be made by one spouse or former spouse to another in order to help sustain that person financially moving forward. Spousal support is another term that is used to describe alimony — spousal support and alimony in Virginia are interchangeable terms. Alimony can be ordered to be made in periodic monthly payments or in one lump sum.

Spousal support is awarded when the parties to the marriage have a substantial difference in their earning or earning capacity. For example, if one individual has been a stay at home parent for a number of years, and the other spouse has been the sole breadwinner in the family, that would be a case that might have an alimony or spousal support component to it. The idea behind alimony is to sustain the lesser paying spouse at a certain financial level that is supposed to be comparable to what existed during the marriage.

A Virginia alimony attorney experienced in family law will best be able to assist anyone in determining alimony. Unlike child support, there is no specific and strict rule the court has to follow in terms of determining whether support should be paid and how much. As a result, having a family law attorney in Virginia who has experienced litigating spousal support cases will provide an individual a better opportunity to make the best case possible to the court regarding a person’s spousal support case.

Making Payments

The court is required to look at the ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay as well as the financial needs of the lower earning spouse. There are also a number of factors that are set out within Virginia law to be considered in making a spousal support determination. The two main components in consideration of alimony are how much one spouse can pay and how much the other spouse needs.

Most often alimony is paid on a monthly basis, for whatever period of time that the court orders. However, in some cases, the court can order a lump sum payment of alimony. Sometimes the monthly payment may not be made directly but they may be made, for example, to a mortgage company to pay the mortgage of the recipient of the support. The most common method of making alimony payments is by a payment directly to the recipient on a monthly basis.

Tax implications, as an alimony attorney in Virginia can explain, are specific to each particular alimony case. However, within certain parameters set by the IRS, spousal support is tax deductible by the person who pays and is taxable income by the person who receives it.

Modifying Payments

In most cases, alimony is modifiable upon a change in circumstances, with a material change in circumstances that impacts the finances of those respective parties. A Virginia alimony attorney will be helpful in this instances of modification. Alimony attorney Hope Rosen has experience in many alimony cases. The most common situations in which a person is able to stop making alimony payments are when the recipient of support remarries and when the payor of support loses their job or takes a big hit in income as a result of something that was not caused by them.

For example, somebody who quit a job does not get relief on spousal support but somebody who was laid off from a job would likely succeed in getting a reduction or termination of spousal support. The third most common way that alimony can be reduced or eliminated is the recipient of the support improves their financial situation. If the person receiving support were to get a job that increased their salary substantially, the court will review spousal support in their case. Contact family law attorney Hope Rosen today to understand the terms of your payment better.