When couples choose to divorce, most property acquired or earned during the course of the marriage is considered community property. However, the issue of property division is rarely as simple as equally dividing all possessions between any given pair. Divorce settlements are ordinarily constructed in such a way that both spouses can continue enjoying their current standard of living when possible. If one spouse earns significantly more in income than the other, this could mean that your divorce settlement will include a spousal support provision.
How Long Do Spousal Support Payments Last?
Unless the lower-earning spouse is quite elderly, has a significant medical condition or otherwise cannot seek additional education or a higher earning position, spousal support terms do not generally last forever. The court will generally award spousal support for a period of time sufficient for the lower-earning spouse to raise his or her income level through personal effort.
After a spousal support amount has been ruled upon, the higher-earning spouse can seek modifications of this order should his or her circumstances change significantly. For example, if the wage-earner's salary suddenly plummets after his or her employer merges with another, that may justify an altered spousal support order.
What It Means To Be The Higher-Earning Spouse
Higher-earning spouses should not necessarily assume that they will retain control of more assets than their partner will, nor should spousal support orders come as any great surprise. Marriages in America today are most often treated legally as financial partnerships. So even though your spouse may earn less than you, he or she will generally be entitled to half of whatever income and assets were earned or acquired over the course of your union.
Contact a Virginia Assest Division Lawyer For Help
There are nearly always exceptions to community property rules however. Therefore it is critical to seek experienced legal counsel in order to better ensure that your property division settlement will be constructed fairly, no matter how much you earn. Contact an experienced family law attorney at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC to discuss your case. Schedule a free consultation, or for immediate assistance, call our office at 703-691-8333,