alt="Photo of Attorneys Cynthia M. Radomsky & Sonya L. Powell"

Family Focused.
Results Driven.

Photo of Cynthia M. Radomsky & Sonya L. Powell

How is spousal support calculated for a stay-at-home spouse?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Firm News |

It is common for Virginia couples to have dual incomes, but some have a stay-at-home spouse who does not work outside the home. This can impact spousal support in several ways.

In many cases, the stay-at-home spouse has contributed in other ways, but did not bring a substantial amount of money in, if they brought in any at all. For people who are in this situation and wonder how the support order will reflect their unique circumstances, it is important to have a grasp of the law.

The factors that affect a stay-at-home spouse’s support

There are fundamental factors that the court will use when deciding on spousal support. For stay-at-home spouses, there are some that will be critical to them and how much they will receive.

The standard of living from the marriage needs to be considered. The person who is receiving support is expected to maintain or come close to the lifestyle they had while they were married. If the breadwinning spouse had a well-paying job, then the award will reflect that. Regardless, the receiving party will be expected to get an amount that lets them live the way they did while married. This is particularly important if there are children and they have custody.

Even if a person did not bring income into the household, their contribution will be scrutinized. In the example of a breadwinner who earned a substantial income – perhaps with a professional job or by owning a business – the stay-at-home party could have contributed by taking care of household matters so to the working spouse did not need to worry about them. They could have provided advice and some level of support while the earning party got an advanced degree. The court will weigh these issues when deciding on an amount.

The stay-at-home party could eventually need to find ways to support themselves or at least contribute. With that, their education, skills and any training they might have had will be assessed. This, along with how long it will take them to accrue education, training and skills to work in the current economy, will be part of the determination.

People should understand how spousal support is calculated

Spousal support is a topic for dispute in any family law case, but for those who are questioning how they will make ends meet because they have not worked for an extended period and stayed at home to run the household, it is front and center. The law accounts for this and people in this situation must be cognizant of their rights to maintain their standard of living and be supported.


FindLaw Network