For anyone who thinks alimony and support is just for those spouses who otherwise might not be able to support themselves, a recent Virginia decision says otherwise.
In that case, a woman whose husband was the primary breadwinner during their 27-year marriage got half of their $4.5 million marital estate in the divorce. This means she was awarded more than $2 million for her share.
Considering the modest lifestyle that the comparatively wealthy couple had maintained, a lot of people would say her share of the estate would have generated plenty of income for her to live on.
But over the husband’s objection, the divorce judge also awarded the wife $12,000 a month in spousal support. The husband appealed, but the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the award.
The court reasoned that the wife had given up her career to raise their child and that her sacrifices in living a frugal lifestyle had enabled the couple’s wealth to grow. The husband was still working in his lucrative career as a financial planner, which would enable his assets to continue grow while, at some point, the wife would begin dissipating her assets to support herself. The court believed it wouldn’t be fair to force the wife to live entirely off her assets while the husband’s continued to accumulate.
Laws around maintenance and support are, of course, complicated and can differ from state to state. Talk to an attorney to learn more about how the law might handle your situation.