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 »
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 »