You and your spouse have decided to separate. You have decided who will move out and even who will have custody of your children. Inevitably, the discussion will turn to support, both child and spousal. How much is enough? Why should he get spousal support if I have the kids? Why should I pay at all? In some of these discussions, one party throws out the dreaded “B-word”—bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is more than what you declare when you lose at Monopoly or what takes all your money on “Wheel of Fortune.” Bankruptcy is the government’s way of allowing people to get rid of their debt and have a chance at a fresh start. But what effect does bankruptcy have on a person’s support obligations? Consider the following three situations.
Situation One: Rick and Kate are discussing their Property Settlement Agreement, and have decided … Read More »
For years, the divorce attorneys at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have secured cheap, quick uncontested divorces for clients in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Manassas, Woodbridge, Stafford, Fredericksburg and all across Northern Virginia. Virginia law allows for an uncontested divorce on the no-fault grounds of (1) separation for at least twelve months, or (2) separation for at least six months, with a separation agreement and no minor children. If you meet one of these grounds, have no outstanding custody, support, property or other issues to be resolved, and your spouse will cooperate fully, we can process your uncontested divorce quickly, with no court appearance, for a low flat fee.
How Does It Work?
Central to our ability to process no-fault divorces quickly and cheaply is this simple fact: Virginia law allows us to file an uncontested, no-fault divorce in any jurisdiction in Virginia, so long as both parties agree. This … Read More »
Virginia Code Section 20-103 provides that in any case where spousal support or child support is in dispute, a Virginia court may enter an order of temporary support pending the conclusion of the suit. Section 20-103 applies in suits for divorce, annulment, and separate maintenance and also in spousal support and child support proceedings brought in the juvenile and domestic relations district court (“JDR Court”).
Such a “pendente lite” order of support will last until the conclusion of the case, at which time the court may order more or less support, or no support at all, depending upon the facts of the case.
For child support, the statewide guidelines, which establish a “presumptively correct” amount of support, apply equally at both pendente lite and final hearings.
For spousal support, a JDR Court that is determining a request for pendente lite spousal support must … Read More »
Where a couple was married 10 or more years and then divorce, each party will be paid the greater of his/her own Social Security benefit or a spousal benefit. Spousal benefits generally are equal to 50% of the primary wage earner’s benefit. The gender of the spouse is irrelevant, although historically this has had a greater impact on ex-wives.
It is important to understand that there is no impact on the primary wage earner’s benefit. If an ex-wife chooses spousal benefits based on her marriage to a former husband, it will not reduce the amount the ex-husband receives in Social Security.
For an example: assume Suzy and John are married over 10 years, then divorce. Suzy then marries Edward, stays married to him for over 10 years, then divorces Edward as well.
At retirement, Suzy will be entitled to choose the greatest of … Read More »
In alimony or child support cases, Virginia law allows the court to find a party is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed, and to calculate support based on a higher income than he or she is actually earning. As the Virginia Court of Appeals has written, “[a] court may under appropriate circumstances impute income to a party seeking spousal support. This conclusion logically flows from the principle that one who seeks spousal support is obligated to earn as much as he or she reasonably can to reduce the amount of the support need…. A spouse may not choose a low paying position that penalizes the other spouse.”
Virginia Code § 20-107.1 directs the trial court to consider as a spousal support factor each party’s earning capacity. For child support, imputed income is a deviation factor listed in Virginia Code § 20-108.1(B)(3). The court must … Read More »
For most uncontested divorces, the parties will need to execute a property settlement agreement, commonly known as a “PSA,” settlement agreement, or simply a separation agreement. With the growing availability on the internet of forms and samples for such documents, some people feel confident in drafting an agreement without the assistance of an attorney. These agreements may turn out to be valid and work for some people, but may result in financial disaster for others.
Language in a separation agreement may seem to have one meaning, but may have an entirely different legal meaning. As an example: John and Ellen sign a separation agreement stating they will “share” physical and legal custody of the child. However, Ellen keeps the children most of the time. Without knowing anything else about this agreement, Ellen may have opened the door for a smaller amount … Read More »
Spousal support (alimony) is often the toughest nut to crack in a contested divorce in Virginia. More and more, Virginia Courts seem to be relying on some “local guidelines” in determining spousal support—guidelines that seem to favor the payor of support.
The spousal support issue arises in any Virginia separation or divorce case where the parties have been married for any substantial length of time and there is a significant gap in the parties’ income. When spousal support comes into play, the parties and their attorneys (and the Court, if the parties cannot agree) have to sort out (a) how much spousal support should be paid, and (b) for how long. I won’t get into the “for how long” issue here—perhaps I’ll address that in a future post. But I do want to talk about the “how much” question.
With CHILD support … Read More »