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What is Spousal Support?

Charleston Spousal Support Lawyer

Need Help With Your Divorce? Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help!

Going through a divorce is no easy feat, especially when it comes to handling the financial outcome. Separating your finances and living off of a single income can be extremely challenging, especially if you and your spouse have different earning capacities. If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, it is extremely likely that alimony will come into play.

In West Virginia, spousal support, or alimony, is the payment one spouse makes to the other during or after their divorce. These payments are court-ordered and are required on a regular basis until terminated or altered. If you are interested in seeking alimony from your spouse, or if you have been asked to pay alimony, make sure you know everything you need to about the legal process.

Call (304) 605-2026 to schedule a consultation with our divorce lawyer.

Understanding How Spousal Support Works

In West Virginia, there are four different types of spousal support. Spouses may arrange for temporary spousal support, permanent spousal support, rehabilitative spousal support, and spousal support in gross. Temporary support is granted during the divorce to help take care of immediate expenses, whereas permanent support is lasting and can only be changed by a court order.

Rehabilitative support is granted when the lesser-earning spouse needs financial help as he or she trains or studies in order to return to the workforce, or to increase his or her earning abilities. Lastly, the court can order spousal support in gross, which means the total amount of alimony is ordered and set to be paid over a specific period of time or as a lump sum.

Determining Alimony Payments in West Virginia

Spousal support can be ordered for several reasons, and there are many factors the court will consider before requesting a specific amount. Or, if you wish to handle your divorce outside of court, usually through mediation, you and your spouse may come to your own agreement about how alimony will work and what payment amount will be appropriate.

If the court awards alimony, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income
  • The earning capacity of each spouse (factors in education, job skills, work experience, etc.)
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The marital standard of living
  • Whether or not a spouse sacrificed job or education opportunities during the union
  • Whether or not one spouse contributed to the education or career of the other
  • The financial needs of each spouse
  • Any other legal obligations of either spouse
  • The cost of care for any children of the marriage with special disabilities

The court will also consider how the marital property was divided in the divorce, as this may influence how much support should be awarded. Additionally, the court will consider how much it would cost for the lesser-earning spouse to receive an education to further his or her earning capacity. The judge will also factor in outside influences, such as tax consequences of alimony payments, the cost of healthcare, the children’s education, and so on. Also, if there were minor children from the marriage and one spouse stays home to care for the children, the court will consider whether or not the parent can feasibly work.

If the marriage ended because of any type of domestic violence, adultery, or because one spouse was convicted of a crime, the “guilty” party’s discretion can also play a role in the court’s decision about alimony payments. In other words, the abused or wronged spouse could potentially receive more compensation.

Let Our Family Attorney Help You

The divorce process is complicated and challenging, especially when dealing with spousal support orders. Whether you are asking for payments or are being asked to pay, the process can be difficult and confusing if you don’t have an experienced family lawyer on your side. Our skilled attorneys at Erica Lord Law Group, PLLC have ample experience on West Virginia divorces and we understand the laws that govern our local courts. If you need help working through spousal support during your divorce, asking for a temporary support order, or modifying an existing support order, we can help you.

Contact Erica Lord Law Group, PLLC to discuss your spousal support case with our Charleston divorce lawyer.

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