Divorce in Virginia v. Divorce in Other States: Part I

The American Bar Association conducted an in-depth review of our nation’s divorce laws on a state-by-state basis. The “ Family Law Quarterly” contains annual charts comparing the divorce and custody laws between states. So how does the Commonwealth compare to other states in terms of our divorce and custody laws? Over the next few blogs, we’ll look at how Virginia compares to other states in terms of our divorce laws.

The End is First

For the most part, we’re no different from other states. However, I’m sure many custodial and noncustodial parents wouldn’t mind following minority rules, especially when it comes to child support.

Spousal Support or Alimony: Does Fault Matter?

Yes, in most states, fault may play a role in determining whether a party is entitled to alimony or spousal support. In Virginia, like 25 other states, you may not be able to receive spousal support if you were at-fault for ending your marriage. Conversely, you may be able to receive alimony if you were the “innocent” party. Although courts can look at other factors, including need, fault may prohibit you from receiving alimony.

Child Support: Income Share or Percentage of Income?

In Virginia, the amount of child support each parent pays will depend on income shares based on child support guidelines. Thus, your divorce attorney and family law judges will base your child support award on your respective income share compared to the total income you and your ex-spouse make. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually, and your spouse earns $25,000, your total income is $75,000. In this case, you are responsible for providing two-thirds of your child’s monthly support. However, there may be adjustments for daycare, medical costs and credits for health insurance, etc.

Compare this to the Percentage of Income Model. Typically, in states that use Percentage of Income to determine child support, the noncustodial parent is responsible for a flat amount of support based on his or her income and the number of children he or she is responsible for supporting. From this amount, family law courts will use percentage of income formulas based on statutory child support guidelines. For example, in Texas, a noncustodial parent will have to give the custodial parent 20 percent of his or her income for one child and 25 percent for two children. However, the amount will not exceed 40 percent and that’s for someone with six or more children.


Shameless Self-Promotion: If you’re looking for a Virginia divorce attorney, contact Keithley Law today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.

Legal Disclaimer: The information provided on “Keithleylaw.com” is strictly for educational purposes and to provide you with general educational information about Virginia laws. Since state laws are subject to change, please schedule an appointment with our office to further discuss your personal situation. This public information is neither intended to, nor will, create an attorney-client relationship.

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