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Forgetting the myth of spousal support

On Behalf of | May 20, 2023 | Family Law

Spousal support, or alimony, is a topic of much discussion in the U.S. Some believe awarding financial support to a divorce party should be abolished. Others correctly believe that alimony still serves a critical purpose in Virginia and other states.

Whether you are the spouse seeking alimony or the one who may be obligated to pay, you should remain informed about spousal support. A good first step is to stop believing the following misconceptions:

Alimony is automatically awarded

Spousal support is not a guarantee in any state. Modern courts try to promote self-sufficiency instead of even more dependence. After careful consideration, judges may award alimony to help a spouse obtain training or education that could improve their earning capacity.

Spousal support lasts forever

In today’s family courts, permanent alimony orders are becoming rare. Again, the promotion of self-sufficiency is the reason few spousal support awards are permanent. Still, some situations may call for permanent alimony, such as when the receiver is a senior citizen or unable to work.

Courts use the same criteria for all cases

Judges consider the needs and circumstances of each spouse before making alimony decisions. For example, if you only work ten hours a week, do not assume you will win spousal support. The court is unlikely to order alimony if your spouse proves they earn less and have more financial obligations. 

During a divorce, it is easy to lose track of critical issues and fall prey to financial missteps. It may serve your best interests to learn more about the legal aspects of divorcing in Virginia to protect your alimony and other rights.