When Virginia couples get a divorce and one person has to pay child or spousal support to the other, the court will take several factors into account in determining the amount. In addition to the regular salary a person earns, a court will look at other types of compensation. This could include deferred compensation, corporate retirement account contributions, and interest and dividends.
If the income reported does not seem sufficient to support the lifestyle the family is living, the court may also investigate further. For example, if a person is getting family money, the court may include that in calculations. The object is to ensure that the family continues living as similar a lifestyle as possible.
Some people may be concerned about cash flow. If this is the case, one option might be to give the ex-spouse a larger share of the assets and pay less in support. People might also want to consider the timing of the divorce. A court will take steps to prevent manipulation of income for support purposes, such as looking at tax returns over several years. However, if people are anticipating a large one-time bonus in a subsequent year, they may want to file for divorce sooner. There is also an option to make support modifiable if the payer has a change in income.
People considering a divorce may be worried about support along with other financial issues. Some couples might be able to reach an agreement through the process of collaborative family law. This can be less adversarial than litigation, and it may give them more control over the process. The idea behind a collaborative law approach is that the couple will reach an agreement that suits both of them. Another potential advantage of collaborative law is that it may not cost as much as going to court.