Read what people are saying in their reviews of Michael Ephraim Law Firm:

Thank you once again for all of your help and making the divorce process so easy! You were all extremely professional and wonderful to work with. —
Wendy R. Norfolk

The M. Ephraim Law Office is really great. They have a good team. The best way that I really like it is received all the information by email. Thank you. — Mary P. Arlington

Service was outstanding. The staff kept me well informed throughout the entire process. Everything went as expected and it was seamless. Thank you –Kyle Hottinger

Everything went well. Smooth and all of that. Thank you so much! — Deborah Russell-Delgado

Very smooth process and fast. There was an issue of phone messages not being passed more than once. — Smith

Very easy, fast, complete. Thank you. — Thompson

Professional attitude, fast & easy process — Ivan Comice

Easy, fast, process. — Bates

The process was smooth and easy, I am very happy with the outcome. Thank you very much — Anita Akwety

Quick, easy and not very expensive. — Diep

Very nice to see the people I’m working with. It all very smooth and fast! — Bessais Arf-Jerbia

The hearing was so easy. I would liek more communicating with office. But great overall. — Mirones-Ulunque

Everything went really smooth! You guys tag-team very well! — Taft

You guys were superb! I got to court late, but they really helped me out. — Damkwah

It was a smooth transition. I like the way your firm handles things. Excellent. I will give recommendations to everyone! — Manu

Painfully too easy. Glad and sad that it’s that easy and inexpensive. The office is very responsive! — Wilborn

Very easy. I will give a good recommendation for a good job done! — Darko

Todo perfecto! — Vasquez

I had a nice experience. It was convenient and excellent.  Communication via emails and phone calls was very convenient. I didn’t have to set up an appointment to start my case. Thank you. — Anonymous

Process was quick and easy. All correspondence was prompt and professional.

The process was very easy and very straight forward.

Thanks so much for all you did – The process was so quick.

Thank you- it was very convenient. Very quick! Thanks!

Great result, great value. Perhaps improve by assigning particular paralegal to case rather than musical para-legals. Still good though.

Raheem TURANE:
It was quick and great.

communication needs to be more consistent. We had to call many times to get court confirmation. Staff was always pleasant and professional.

Great process thank you.

STEADMAN?:It was quick & good. Thank you.

I felt the staff and attorneys were very professional. They worked diligently on my case and everything got resolved. Thank you so much for your help. – Patty C

Manuel E:
Busque un abogado por mucho tiempo para sacar mi divorcio rapido y encontre su oficina por referencia. Definitivamente dare las referencias

very well run. Very efficient. Office & staff very helpful and responsive.

Process was simple and easy

Since we have everything online- email, it was really easy and the hearing well organized. Since we came out from the elevator they were helping us.

I had a wonderful experience. Thank you for being so helpful!!!!

This process was so fast and easy! I can’t wait to pick up my Decree!

The hearing was done so fast. I really appreciate what affordable & professional service this office offers.

I referred many of my friends to this office. The service is fast and very affordable. My wife delay my case, but I’m still happy

Estoy muy contento con todo el servicio muy rapido y bueno. Gracias.

I’ve been waiting so long to hear “Divorce Granted.” I was finally able to finish my case with the help of this office; even when my spouse didn’t want to sign.

Doing a Good job. Professional.

Good company good service! I will recommend people to your office.

Very helpful, always sppedy service.

Speedy service and good pricing. Hearing was well planned and professional.

Great,fast and reliable!

Everything was excellent!

Great Job

Everything was so easy. It was so nice to meet everyone at the hearing. The hearing was so easy. Much easier than expected. I will recommend you guys!

I was able to meet everyone at court! It’s nice to see the face of the person you’re speaking to.

Everything went so smooth. Keep it up. I am so relieved that I’m now divorced. It was really efficient.

It didn’t even hurt.

I can’t believe how fast it all went. I’m celebrating! The service provided by your firm was efficient and fast-paced. Thanks for all the great work.


Very simple and easy. If anything, I would’ve liked communication/status. Everything was fast and inexpensive…Perfect! Thank you.

Very easy and extremely affordable; I would recommend this office to anyone! Thank you sooooooo much!

Very nice, kind, and efficient! I’ll use you for my next ex-husband :)

They handled the case very efficiently. You did a good job. Thank you

In the “old days,” if a person wanted to file for divorce, he or she would have been required to present a reason the marriage should be dissolved. The reason would normally be something the other spouse had done to make the marriage unsustainable (e.g. infidelity, cruelty, etc.). If the court was convinced of the defending spouse’s guilt, it would agree to dissolve the marriage. However, if there was scant evidence of the alleged wrongdoing, the court would oftentimes refuse to grant the divorce.

As time went on, more and more states began to use a “no fault” protocol when deciding divorce cases. Couples were allowed to simply claim irreconcilable differences with no fault for the marriage’s failure placed on either party. This trend has continued, and today more states than ever follow this protocol by default.

In this article, we’ll present further details regarding the differences between a fault and no-fault divorce. Plus, because all states now recognize the latter, we’ll discuss its pros and cons.

What Is A “Fault” Divorce?

As described above, at least one party would ask for the marriage to be dissolved on the grounds of some type of fault. What constitutes acceptable grounds for a divorce varies by state, insofar as a state still recognizes fault as the basis of a divorce. It can include adultery, routine drunkenness, and cruel treatment, either physical or emotional. Other grounds include desertion, imprisonment, and an inability to engage in sexual intercourse.

Given that all states now recognize the validity of a no-fault divorce, why would a couple seek to request their marriage be dissolved on the basis of fault? One reason is because many states require divorcing couples to separate for several months before a no-fault divorce is granted. By assigning fault to one or both spouses, the marriage can be dissolved without meeting this requirement.

Another reason is that the person claiming fault against the other spouse may be able to secure a better settlement if the claim can be substantiated. This can result in more spousal support, a larger portion of the marital assets, or better custody rights of the couple’s children.

What Is A “No Fault” Divorce?

Couples who want to dissolve their marriage without placing blame on each other can do so by filing a “no fault” divorce. Technically, the couple must still give a reason for seeking a divorce. But one of the reasons accepted by nearly all states is “irreconcilable differences.” This implies that issues exist for which the differences in perspective between the parties is so great that they cannot be resolve.

When irreconcilable differences is given as the reason for the divorce, the divorcing couple is not required to provide additional details about any of the issues involved. Having said that, some of the issues may surface when child custody rights are discussed.

Pros And Cons Of A No-Fault Divorce

When fault is not an issue, both spouses benefit. Their divorce can usually be settled more quickly, which means both parties are free to resume their lives sooner. Additionally, a no-fault divorce is often handled with less emotion. This eases the burden placed on both spouses as well as the strain placed on their children.

Another benefit is that an abused spouse can leave the marriage far more easily than would be the case if fault had to be claimed and proven. With no such requirement, the abused party can end the marriage at his or her discretion.

One of the downsides to a no-fault system is that many couples include one party who does not want to get divorced. That individual has no control over the dissolution of the marriage. In other words, he or she is unable to stop the divorce if the other spouse proceeds with it.

Another drawback is that one of the spouses may lose control of his or her children. This tends to be a greater risk for fathers than mothers since family courts tend to favor the latter when addressing custody rights. To that end, a mother might decide to end the marriage, after which the family court awards custody of the couple’s children to her. A no-fault system makes it very difficult for the father to argue that the mother is poorly-suited to care for them.

In summary, no-fault divorce is recognized in every state, though many states still recognize a fault divorce. While most divorcing couples prefer the former route, it does entail both pros and cons. It is highly advisable to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you to determine which approach is the most beneficial given your circumstances.

What is the difference between contested divorce and uncontested?  Do you need to file for a divorce?  Are you confused as to what type of divorce to file?  Today we will review the difference between contested and uncontested divorce.

Contested divorce is when you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more terms of the divorce settlement.  Divorces are usually contested when factors such as alimony, child custody, child support, debt disputes, and division of assets are involved.  The more shared investments a couple has, the more complicated the divorce can be.  Children and money are the two main reasons couples fight. Each spouse wishes to obtain custody of the children and each spouse also wishes to protect what they deem as their “fair” portion of the shared assets.  Contested divorces tend to take a long time to settle and are very costly due to the litigation fees.  Contested divorces also are disruptive to children’s lives and add stress to the family household.  It is always recommended to try to resolve differences between your spouse and yourself outside the courtroom.  Settling outside the courtroom is in the best interest of both parties as it will save money and reduce stress.

Uncontested divorce is when your spouse and you come to a mutual agreement on all terms of the divorce settlement.  This is the best way to settle a divorce and the most common way to file for spouses who do not have children and many shared assets.  Uncontested divorces are finalized quickly and will not cost you an arm and a leg to file.  In fact, filing an uncontested divorce is very affordable and relatively simple to file.

In Virginia, residents of Virginia can file for an uncontested divorce with any court of the state.  To make it even easier, The Law Office of Attorney Michael Ephraim has a custom built software program that is designed to speed up the filing process with the courts.  We specialize in delivering clients fast uncontested divorces.  However, our office can also handle contested divorce.  If you wish to speak to one of our highly experienced attorneys, please contact our office at (703) 635-7980.

In many divorce cases, one of the parties is ordered by the court to pay his or her ex-spouse a certain amount of money each month. Sometimes, the divorcing couple agrees on an amount without the court’s influence. In both cases, the payment is known as alimony.

The purpose of alimony, or spousal support, is to help mitigate any financial consequences suffered by one of the parties to a divorce. For example, many married women stay home and take care of their children instead of working full-time. Following a divorce, they often have limited options for earning an income. Spousal support provides an income and reduces the financial strain placed upon them.

If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, it’s important to consider how alimony will affect you – either as the payor or payee. We’ll cover the main issues in detail below.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

There’s no standard that dictates how long alimony must be paid. Judges are given a wide berth to decide on its duration based on the circumstances of each case. The length of time a couple was married is taken into account. The judge will also consider whether the couple’s children need a parent at home. Also important is whether the disadvantaged spouse is able to find a job that provides a livable income.

For example, consider a couple that has been married for decades during which the wife never worked. The judge may order the husband to pay support until his ex-wife dies or remarries.

Now consider a couple that was married for a year where both parties held full-time jobs. The judge is unlikely to award spousal support in such a case.

The most important point to remember is that the duration of alimony payments is based on the circumstances of the case, and made with the judge’s discretion. This assumes the couple is unable to agree, and thus need a judge to intervene.

How The Amount Of Alimony Is Calculated

The amount of the payments is determined after considering several factors. The standard of living enjoyed by the couple while they were married plays a role. So too does the payor’s ability to pay. (A person who makes $300,000 a year will likely be ordered to pay more than a person who makes $30,000 a year.)

The length of time the spouses were married is also taken into consideration. Given an ability to pay, the amount of support awarded a spouse will be greater in the case of a decades-long marriage than one that lasted 12 months.

The payee’s earning capacity is also important. If the individual is unable to earn a livable income, the judge may order the other payor spouse to make larger payments.

Finally, the age and health of both parties is taken into account. An older person saddled with serious medical conditions may be awarded more alimony than a young, healthy person.

When You’re The One To Pay Alimony

Alimony doesn’t reflect poorly on the party ordered to make payments. That person may have done nothing wrong to “deserve being punished” with the order. As noted earlier, the intent of spousal support is to ease the financial consequences of getting divorced.

If you are ordered to pay support to your ex-spouse, realize that certain circumstances may warrant revisiting the order in the future. For example, if you lose your job and are left without an income, a judge may lower the amount of the payments or put them on hold until you find employment. Also, if your ex-spouse remarries, you can ask the judge to dismiss the alimony order, effectively ending the payments.

When You’re The One To Receive Alimony

If the judge awards alimony to you, it is important to understand that the payments are likely to end at some point. Rarely do judges award spousal support indefinitely. In addition, as explained above, the amount of money you receive each month may change due to a variety of circumstances.

It’s a good idea to look for ways to increase your future earning capacity. Obtain additional training or education, become certified in your chosen field, or improve your current skillset.

The issues that influence the amount of spousal support paid, how long it is paid, and by whom, are often complex. If you have questions, consult an experienced divorce attorney who can help to ensure the payments you make or receive are fair.

In the event you and your spouse decide to seek a divorce, you’ll need to agree upon a settlement. The settlement agreement will describe how you intend to split your marital assets and handle custody of your children. It will also define the terms of any spousal or child support paid by one party to another.

Ideally, you and your future ex-spouse will agree on the above items. If you do, you can seek an uncontested divorce. On the other hand, if there is any disagreement that cannot be resolved, you and your spouse may find yourself fighting over matters in court.

The two biggest advantages of an uncontested divorce are low cost and expediency. It costs much less than litigation and can be finalized more quickly. With that in mind, we’ll answer several questions below that divorcing couples tend to ask about this approach to ending their marriage.

“What Exactly Is An Uncontested Divorce?”

An uncontested divorce is one in which there is no quarrel between the parties about their marital assets, custody of their children, child support, and alimony. Both spouses essentially agree on all terms (or they at least refrain from contesting them).

Another feature is that neither party contests the divorce itself. Both parties are receptive to ending the marriage.

“I Have Kids. Can I Still File An Uncontested Divorce?”

Having kids does not preclude seeking an uncontested divorce. While children can complicate the terms of a settlement, it is still possible – and indeed, advisable – to avoid fighting over the terms in court.

If you and your spouse have kids, and disagree on custody and visitation rights, it may be beneficial to seek mediation before going to court. It’s cheaper and the results are likely to be more satisfying.

“What If I Don’t Know My Spouse’s Whereabouts?”

Many people assume they cannot proceed with a divorce in their spouse’s absence. In reality, not only are they able to do so, but doing so is relatively simple.

You may be required to run an ad in your local newspaper to give legal notice of your intention to divorce your spouse. You will also need to file a few extra papers to finalize your divorce. If your spouse fails to respond to your ad within a certain time frame (it varies by state), your request to dissolve your marriage will be granted.

“What If My Spouse Contests The Divorce?”

There is always a potential for a divorce to be contested. Many individuals who are served divorce papers by their spouses oppose ending their marriages. Or they might be open to getting a divorce, but dispute certain terms in the agreement, such as how the marital property is divided between the parties.

Oftentimes, the couple can still pursue an uncontested divorce by negotiating the disagreed upon terms. An experienced attorney can provide enormous value by helping his or her client move toward a resolution while ensuring the client’s needs are met.

The important thing to remember is that there are alternatives to litigation. Even if the negotiation process breaks down, the divorcing couple can seek mediation or arbitration.

“How Long Will It Take To Finalize My Divorce?”

If you and your spouse agree on all matters, your divorce might be finalized in as little as a few weeks. Having said that, much depends on meeting certain conditions and filing the right papers by the proper deadlines.

Contrast that to litigation, which can easily extend the time before a divorce is finalized to more than a year.

“Do I Need To Hire A Lawyer For My Divorce?”

Technically, you do not need to hire an attorney for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse have few assets, no kids, and were married for a very short period, it is possible to seek a divorce without legal assistance. However, an attorney’s experience and advice can prove valuable, even when the terms of a divorce seem simple. He or she can ensure the proper documents are prepared and filed, and make sure his or her client is not being taken advantage of.

An important note: if your spouse has hired an attorney, it is in your interest to do the same. Don’t assume your spouse’s lawyer will treat both of you fairly. The lawyer’s job is to look after his or her client’s interests.

There are very few reasons to pursue matters in court. Doing so results in higher costs and unnecessary delays in completing your divorce. In addition, you may find the judge’s rulings to be disappointing. A much better option is to pursue an uncontested divorce and work to settle all matters out of court.

Despite the fact that millions of people have been through divorce, and countless books offer sound advice about the process, numerous myths persist. People believe all manner of fiction when it comes to ending a marriage. Unfortunately, false notions and misconceptions can cause divorcing couples to make big mistakes that haunt them later.

If you and your spouse are thinking about getting a divorce, you need to be able to separate fact from fiction. This article will help. We’ll expose 5 common divorce myths that still manage to lead people astray. Some may seem silly to you. Others you might be surprised to learn are fallacies.

#1 – Divorced Women Suffer A Lower Standard Of Living

Numerous experts have said over the years that women tend to experience a dramatic change in their living standards after emerging from a divorce. The common view is that women suffer considerably while their ex-husbands either enjoy a higher standard of living or endure no change at all.

First, it’s important to realize that everyone’s circumstances are different. Suggesting that women, as a group, become paupers after divorce is highly misleading.

Second, the original data quoted to support the notion that women become practically destitute after divorce was later discovered to be wrong. (It was asserted by Lenore Weitzman in her book “The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America”.)

To be sure, many women find themselves struggling financially after walking away from their marriage. But that is often because they failed to look after their interests when negotiating a settlement, not due to some economic principle.

#2 – Getting Divorced Costs A Lot Of Money

Divorce can be expensive. If you and your spouse have become mortal enemies and plan to take each other to court, you might end up paying thousands of dollars to dissolve your marriage. Litigation is always costly.

But suppose you and your future ex-spouse agree on the major pieces of your settlement. You agree on how to split your assets, how to share custody of your children, and the amount of child or spousal support that will be paid. Because there is little conflict, there’s no reason to litigate. That being the case, you may be able to finalize your divorce for as little as four or five hundred dollars.

#3 – Mothers Always Get Custody In Divorce

A long time ago, this was often the case. Mothers were seen as better nurturers than fathers, and thus were given full custody of the couple’s children. But this dynamic hasn’t been the case for nearly a generation, especially as the number of women in the workforce has risen.

Today, most couples share custody of their kids after getting divorced. The children live with both parents, and both parents have an equal say in their upbringing. Decisions regarding the kids’ medical care, schooling, and religious instruction (if any) are made jointly.

#4 – Alimony Is Forever

Surprisingly, a lot of people believe that spousal support is paid until one of the spouses dies. The party who is ordered by the court to pay alimony does so each month regardless of the circumstances. In reality, alimony rarely works in this manner.

Spousal support payments can end for a variety of reasons. For example, the court may allow the person ordered to pay alimony to stop doing so when his or her ex-spouse remarries. Or the court may decide that payments can stop once the couple’s children leave home. Sometimes, a date is set in the future at which point spousal support payments can stop.

#5 – All Divorce Attorneys Are The Same

Many people assume all divorce lawyers offer the same services and take the same approach when helping their clients end their marriages. In truth, they are different in a number of ways. First, some are combative while others prefer a more collaborative approach. The former tends to push litigation while the latter encourages clients to seek an uncontested divorce.

Some attorneys specialize in divorce cases. They have considerable experience in divorce law. Other attorneys are generalists. They take all types of cases and have a bit of experience in many areas.

The most important thing to remember is that everything you know about divorce may not necessarily be true. This is one of the reasons to consult a qualified divorce attorney who can help you get through the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

As a divorce attorney this may sound like a silly question, but trust me it isn’t – why are you thinking of getting a divorce? Marriage is a serious proposition, but that being the case, getting a divorce has got to be treated just as seriously, if not more so as after all, when you first got hitched you were probably young and broke.

By now, you’re not so young but you have a lot more to lose and I don’t just mean money and assets.

What about your children and relationships with your family and friends?

Marital issues affect every married couple, and while divorcing your spouse is relatively easy, especially if you are both in agreement and are using the uncontested divorce procedures, it should only be used as the last option for dealing with matrimonial issues.

Do you still love your spouse?

I’m not a relationship coach, but I have been married for some years and have a family. I can’t say my feelings are the same today as they were when I first met my wife. My feelings have altered over the years, and the love we share is very different and it seems to me it must be. We have gone through life together, the ups and the downs, are raising children (which is always a game changer in any relationship) and felt the frustrations and joys which come from being so close.

Ask yourself whether you still have feelings for your spouse? Do you still have affection towards one another?

If you do, and especially if the feelings are mutual, there are other options to look at before opting for a divorce.

Here is some free advice from a divorce attorney:

Marriage counseling is readily available for couples experiencing problems, but you don’t have to wait until emotions and tempers have frayed to the point where you can’t stand each other. Counseling helps thousands of couples recover their marriages, and if you haven’t tried this, please try again.

If you have already been through counseling, go back and try again before you decide to use my uncontested divorce services.

The divorce laws in Virginia provide for married couples to divorce in as a little as 1 week and my firm, Ephraim Law, provides a guaranteed divorce for $400 plus the court fees of $84. This includes a separation agreement on standard terms for no extra cost.

We also offer an uncontested divorce in Virginia which takes 3 weeks (and again we guarantee the 3 week period) and this costs just $600 plus $84 court fees.

The general requirements are as follows:

  • You have no children in common;
  • Your spouse will sign the divorce papers;
  • You have been separated for at least 6 months; and
  • One of you has been resident in the Commonwealth of Virginia for the last 6 months.

You don’t need to spend any time in lawyers’ offices: you can fill all the paperwork online and we even will process your payment.

For married couples looking to get a simple, convenient and fast divorce, this provides a very cost effective option. More than this, if you are both in agreement, using an uncontested divorce service will ease the emotional burden on both of you.

As an experienced divorce attorney who specializes in uncontested divorces, my law firm handles hundreds of cases each month. We have an established set of procedures and understand what it takes to get the final divorce decree with the minimum of fuss and inconvenience.

Ephraim Law also provides a range of additional services for those looking to get divorced but whose situations mean they cannot take advantage of Virginia’s uncontested divorce laws. These include:

Divorce by Deposition – where you get a divorce without the need to go to court, and the laws in Virginia allow for both uncontested and contested divorce proceedings;

Divorce by Publication – where you cannot locate your spouse and serve them with divorce proceedings, we can help you with a guaranteed 2.5 month service providing you have been separated for one year or more.

When some married couples divorce, one of the most contentious issues is the division of the marital property. Both spouses stand to lose a sizable percentage of the possessions they have accumulated over the course of the marriage. As a result, in many cases, the parties will be far from amicable. When dividing marital possessions after a divorce, the couple can either come to an agreement on the matter, or contest each other’s ownership of various assets.

This article will explore different ways an agreement can be forged between the spouses. The approach taken by the divorcing couple and their attorneys will reflect their circumstances, feelings toward one another, and their ability to compromise.

Private Agreements

Not every divorce is a contentious nightmare. Ninety percent of all divorcing parties resolve the issue by mutual assent. The spouses can work with one another and their own counsel to determine whether an asset is a marital asset, what the value of that good is, and who should retain custody of it. If necessary, they may attend mediation to work out ownership of important items and craft buyout agreements for jointly-owned businesses, land, and investments.

Mutual assent is the most cost-effective way to effect a distribution of assets after a divorce. This is due to the expense of litigation and the fact that courts rarely have enough insight into the marriage to understand what specific possessions are useful to which party. Privately working out an agreement ensures that the parties exchange an appropriate level of assets in the manner least disruptive to their lives.

Court-Ordered Division

If the divorcing spouses continue to contest the marital holdings, the court will divide them in accordance with its state’s laws. State laws vary on how different holdings are treated during the divorce. States generally follow one of three different rules: the community property rule, the common law equitable distribution rule, and the all property rule.

Nine U.S. states follow the community property rule. Under this rule, marital assets are divided equally between the parties while premarital assets are excluded from division. Marital assets are those that were acquired during the marriage, regardless of title or who was the principal user of that asset. Premarital assets that have been commingled during the marriage may also be subject to division.

Most states follow the common law rule that calls for an equitable distribution of the value of marital possessions. An equitable distribution is not the same as an equal distribution. Equitable distribution simply means that there is a fair distribution of the value of the goods between the spouses.

Courts will consider various factors in determining what constitutes an equitable distribution. These factors vary between states, but tend to examine the entire picture. For example, courts in Connecticut will consider the duration of the marriage, income, age, health, occupations, employability, and various other factors to determine what constitutes an equitable distribution. Courts normally award greater assets to individuals with disabilities or employability issues and greater liabilities to those with significant income.

A few states follow the all property rule. It extends the equitable distribution rule to all holdings owned by both parties, regardless of whether the item in question was acquired during the marriage or commingled. In those states, a judge may order one spouse to provide the other with separate possessions in order to achieve an equitable distribution. The fact that goods were acquired during the marriage may weigh against their transfer, but it is not dispositive of the issue.

Enforcing Compliance

Compliance with court orders is not guaranteed. Upon learning that a divorce is impending, some unscrupulous individuals attempt to sell expensive holdings to friends and family members for trivial sums either to harm the other party or with the intent to buy the property back after the settlement. If a court feels that goods were conveyed with the intent of defrauding the other party, the court may order that the goods be returned or include the full value of the possessions in the divorce. Other sanctions may also follow.

Although most divorcing couples are able to negotiate a fair distribution of their marital assets, many are unable to do so. In such cases, it’s useful to work with experienced divorce attorneys who recommend mediation over costly litigation.

Are you a stay at home parent that is about to get a divorce?  Are you worried that with the divorce you will not be able to support yourself financially?  If your spouse is the main provider for your family and the marriage is about to end, you will need to figure out the alimony laws for your state.  The alimony laws we will be discussing here are geared toward Virginia residents as our practice is in the state of Virginia.  However, for those looking to learn more about alimony laws in other states we encourage you to contact a divorce lawyer local to your area.

Does the state of Virginia allow alimony?

Yes, the state of Virginia added an alimony statute in 1980.  Under The Divorce Code of 1980, the court has the authority to grant alimony to a party “if it finds that alimony is necessary”.  Now the true question lies with what a court deems is necessary in order to grant alimony to a spouse.

Both spouses have the responsibility to financially look after each other even if they are separated.  If your spouse is no longer living with you, you are still financially responsible for your spouse and visa versa.  This shared responsibility will last until the divorce is finalized.  After filing for an agreed upon no-fault divorce, you and your spouse will need to wait for the Decree in Divorce to be granted before this financial duty is dissolved.  The Decree in Divorce is the document that states divorce is final.

Now if you are a stay at home parent or earn significantly less money than your spouse, the court may allow you to receive alimony.  They may also grant alimony if you are unable to work because of a disability.  The court would grant alimony for these scenarios on the grounds that a “denial of support and maintenance would constitute a manifest injustice based upon the relative economic circumstances of the parties.”  Basically, if denied your spouse’s income you will not be able to support yourself.  This is why courts will grant alimony to spouses.

The duration of how long alimony shall be granted depends on each case.  There is rehabilitative alimony and permanent alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is temporary alimony granted to spouse.  Temporary alimony allows non-working spouse time to train or go back to school in an effort to acquire new skills and eventually find suitable work.  Permanent alimony is alimony that is paid to the spouse for the rest of the spouse’s life.  Permanent alimony terminates when either the spouse dies, the dependent spouse remarries or is found to be cohabitating.  Permanent alimony is less likely to be granted than rehabilitation alimony.  Usually for a spouse to be allowed permanent alimony, the spouse is found to be too old to find work or has illness which prevents spouse from holding job.

Other factors that affect the court’s ruling on alimony are how long did the marriage last, what was the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, what caused the marriage to end, was adultery committed, how old are couple, what monetary contributions were made during marriage by each spouse, and what is the earning capacity of each spouse.

If you believe you qualify for alimony, you should speak to one of our specialized divorce attorneys.  We can help you.  Contact us at (703) 635-7980.