Local guidelines when determining spousal support in Virginia are beneficial because theoretically, the expenses that exist upon this can vary depending on where in the Commonwealth a person lives. Similarly, the amount of money that somebody might earn for a comparable job can vary between certain areas in Virginia. It would appear that is why local guidelines have been established, and why localities have created their own different guidelines.

In the Northern Virginia area, the local guidelines for spousal support are the 30%- 50% calculation, or when there are minors of the parties, the same formula is used but replaced with 28% of the higher paid spouse’s income and 58% of the lower.

Binding Support

In a temporary situation, the local guidelines of spousal support in Virginia are somewhat binding. However, it is understood that when certain parties earn more than a certain amount, the guidelines are not necessarily binding. In a final determination of spousal support, it is expected that the court will not use the guidelines and will look more specifically to the financial ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay the financials of the person requesting spousal support.

The point of local guidelines in Virginia spousal support cases is to have more consistency in results among cases. When it comes to temporary support, there are only certain cases where the court will look beyond the guidelines. These guidelines are universally applied.  The thought process is that there should be some uniformity in how married couples are treated by the courts.

Application of Local Guidelines in Virginia

In the temporary spousal support hearing, these guidelines will typically be applied for the purposes of determining of support. When the court is being asked to make a determination of a permanent award, the guidelines are not usually considered.

The thought process would be that the guidelines take into consideration both the income of the party requesting support and the income of the party being asked to pay spousal support.

Contacting an Attorney

Typically, an attorney will represent one party or the other when determining the local guidelines of spousal support in Virginia. If the attorney is representing the person being asked to pay support, then they will make sure that the employability of the other party has been explored and decide whether that individual could potentially be earning more to support themselves financially. The attorney for the payor of the spouse will also be able to assist in presenting the best case possible, showing that the other spouse has the ability to support themselves.

Since the attorney represents the person seeking support, it will be the attorney’s job to assist in establishing what the financial needs of that person are both currently and in the foreseeable future, and figuring out what the ability of the payor spouse is to pay toward the requesting spouse’s financial obligations.