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How does income impact property division during divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | Divorce

A significant income disparity between spouses can influence various aspects of a divorce settlement. These include spousal support, division of property and child support.

In Virginia, like many other states, income-related factors are considered within the broader framework of equitable distribution and the best interests of any children involved. Understanding the ins and outs of how income can impact a case’s outcome may help a divorcing spouse decide how to proceed in a more informed way.

Spousal support

One of the primary areas where income disparity becomes relevant in a divorce is determining spousal support, also known as alimony. In Virginia, spousal support may be awarded based on various factors, including the earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage and the duration of the marriage. The parties’ age, physical and mental condition may also be considered.

For example, if one spouse has been primarily a homemaker or caregiver during the marriage, or if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the court may award spousal support to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living close to what was enjoyed during the marriage.

Division of marital property

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning the court aims to divide marital property fairly, though not necessarily equally, in the event of a litigated divorce. When there is a significant income disparity, the court may consider this when dividing assets. However, the division of assets will also consider other factors like the contributions each spouse made to the acquisition and care of the marital property, the duration of the marriage and the circumstances and (possibly) factors contributing to the dissolution of the marriage.

Child support

Child support in Virginia is calculated using a statutory formula that considers both parents’ gross income, the family’s custodial arrangement and other expenses related to a child’s upbringing. If there’s a significant income disparity, this will influence the amount of child support awarded.

With all of this said, each divorce is different, so it’s best for anyone considering divorce to seek legal guidance in order to better understand how laws will apply to them.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins