Can I pay temporary child or spousal support from our savings?

When you are going through a divorce, saving as much of the marital assets (such as your checking and savings account) can be critical to most people.  Meanwhile, the spouse responsible for paying support has to figure out how to pay his/her regular bills, possibly for two residences, plus the added expenses for attorney’s fees and support (either child or spousal support) pending the final divorce hearing.  Can you use the money in your joint checking account to pay spousal support? What about from the joint savings account? Or, does it have to be paid from your current income/salary? Or, the spouse who is receiving support may be concerned about the source of funds being used to pay her temporary spousal support (“alimony”). Can your spouse use marital assets to pay you?  What if this would leave nothing in your savings account by the time the final divorce hearing arrives? Effective on July 1, 2016, the Virginia legislature passed a new law to address these concerns. Specifically, Virginia Code § 20-103 was modified to include the following: “A1. Any award or order made by the court pursuant to subsection A shall be paid from the post-separation income of the obligor unless the court, for good cause shown, orders otherwise. Upon the request of either party, the court may identify and state in such order or award the specific source from which the financial obligation imposed is to be paid.”  In short, the statute now requires that any temporary support (i.e., child support or spousal support) must be paid from a person’s income earned after the parties’ date of separation,...

Does My Spouse Have Any Rights To My Retirement Through Our Divorce?

Saving for retirement is a conversation many couples discuss during their marriage in preparing for their future together.  While the parties may have been on the same page when initially discussing how to save, their conversation may be different when going through any contentious divorce.  In short, the answer is yes, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of any retirement accounts, including pensions, that are solely titled in your name. The fact that any retirement asset is titled solely in one’s name does not prevent any marital funds from being divided. Nevertheless, only the “marital share” of any pension, profit-sharing or deferred compensation plan or retirement benefits, whether vested or nonvested, may be divided.  Virginia Code  20-107.3(G)(1) defines “marital share” as “that portion of the total interest, the right to which was earned during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties, if at such time or thereafter at least one of the parties intended that the separation be permanent.” In short, only money that was contributed to the retirement plan starting on the date of marriage until the date of your separation may be divided. This is why is it important to keep copies of all retirement statements showing the values in the account on the date of your marriage and the date of your separation. How much is my spouse entitled to receive?  This question is more difficult.  Unlike many states, where property is considered communal and divided equally upon any divorce, Virginia exercises principles of equitable distribution in determining how to divide marital property.  The Court considers the following eleven (11) factors...