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How is spousal support determined in West Virginia?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Family Law

Some people stay in unhappy marriages for financial reasons. They worry they will have no way to support themselves if they are on their own.

Therefore, it’s essential for anyone considering divorce to understand how the court determines the amount of spousal support one party may receive and how long it lasts.

Preventing financial hardship

Divorce financially impacts both parties, but especially women. After divorce, approximately 20% of women end up living below the poverty line.

Spousal support refers to one spouse’s monetary payments to another after a divorce or separation. Spousal support helps to prevent economic hardship by providing income to the spouse with lower or no income.

In West Virginia, there is no set formula for calculating spousal support. Instead, the court considers various factors to determine the amount and duration of the support. Some of these factors include:

  • The length of the marriage and how long during the marriage the couple lived together
  • Each spouse’s employment income and other earnings
  • The ability for each spouse to earn money based on education, skills, experience and time away from the workforce
  • The physical, mental and emotional condition of both parties and the impact it has on them working
  • The standard of living established during the marriage

There are four types of spousal support in West Virginia:

1. Temporary: Paid during the divorce proceedings and ends once the divorce is finalized.

2. Rehabilitative: Awarded for a specific time to allow the recipient spouse to become self-supporting.

3. Permanent: This is less common and is usually only awarded when one spouse cannot become financially independent.

4. Spousal support in gross: A defined amount that one spouse must pay another in a lump sum or over a specified period. This type can’t be reduced or terminated based on circumstances.

There is no straightforward way to determine spousal support in West Virginia. That is why it’s crucial that you work with someone who can help ensure that you receive the support you are entitled to.