It is common to wonder who much spousal support you will owe or be able to receive once your divorce finalizes. West Virginia offers four difference types of spousal support: temporary, rehabilitative, permanent, and spousal support in gross.
Temporary support is only granted while a divorce is pending to help the dependent spouse with financial obligations. Rehabilitative support is granted until the dependent spouse can become financially independent. Permanent spousal support is given to a dependent spouse who cannot become financially independent due to circumstances out of their control, such as a medical disability. Spousal support in gross is a set amount of support that can be paid as one lump sum or in installments. Today, we review how spousal support is determined.
Qualifying for Spousal Support
A couple must prove that they are living separately and apart to be able to qualify for spousal support. Once that has been established, either spouse can request support. The court will reference the following factors before deciding on the type of support, its duration, and the amount:
- Length of the marriage
- Income level of each spouse
- Mental, physical, and emotional health of each spouse
- Age of each spouse
- Income-earning abilities of each spouse (as well as educational background, training, employment history, skills, and more)
- Accustomed marital standard of living and financial needs of each spouse
- Property distribution during the divorce
- Likelihood that the spouse seeking support can increase their income-earning abilities by acquiring new education and training
- Extent to which it would be difficult for a supported spouse to work if he/she is a custodial parent
- Cost of education for minor children
- Any financial contributions one spouse made to another spouse’s education
- Anticipated expense of obtaining education and training (for the supported spouse)
- Cost of health care for each spouse and the children (including costs for children with physical or mental disabilities)
- Tax consequences
- Any other factors the court deems necessary
Is Misconduct Considered?
A judge can also consider misconduct during the marriage when determining spousal support; however, it is important to keep in mind that the other factors listed above will also be included as well. One factor does not outweigh another, but a judge does have broad discretion when deciding spousal support.
Paying Spousal Support
You will be required to pay spousal support in a lump sum or periodic payments. Payments typically come from your income. It is important to note that the court will not award more spousal support than the paying spouse can afford.
For assistance with your spousal support issue, contact our office online or by calling (304) 867-0049 to schedule a consultation.