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Ailing Wife Wins Continued Support

Deborah Elkins//January 7, 2013

Ailing Wife Wins Continued Support

Deborah Elkins//January 7, 2013//

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In determining spousal support after termination of the parties’ 26-year marriage, a Salem Circuit Court awards wife $2,150 in monthly support, as she is unable to work due to her conditions of lymphoma, diabetes and lupus.

Both parties are trying to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during marriage. If you take away the extras listed in husband’s budget, both parties spend approximately the same amount of money each month. In reaching that conclusion, the court has removed from husband’s monthly budget his recreation and charitable donations, the money he pays his adult daughter, the excesses he has listed for automobile costs, and has reduced the excessive monthly debt payments he claims he makes.

It is clear from the evidence of the parties that both of them contributed 100 percent of their activities and energies, both monetary and non-monetary, to the marriage and to the well-being of the family throughout the majority of their marriage. Husband’s income was the primary income of the family. What wife earned after caring for the children was simply extra money. Husband has the ability to continue the income he now has for the remainder of his productive years. His physical and mental health is good. Wife does not have the ability to earn sufficient income to support herself. Currently, wife is unable to work and she is receiving disability payments. Her cancer, her lupus, her diabetes and her lack of appropriate health insurance are all issues that she struggles to overcome.

Wife is age 49 and husband is age 49. The post-nuptial agreement entered into by the parties does not give either one a financial advantage over the other. The relative economic circumstances of the parties are such that at this time it appears as though wife will continue, through the remainder of her life, being dependent upon spousal support from husband and some sort of disability payments. Her physical condition limits her employment skills in the future. Husband has reached a pinnacle of his employment skills, earning far more than the average high school graduate in the Roanoke Valley. The court has considered all the factors in Va. Code § 20-107.1, with special emphasis on those mentioned in this opinion. Wife has shown a need for spousal support and husband has shown an ability to provide it. Husband shall pay wife $2,150 per month in spousal support. Since the parties’ separation, and because of wife’s illnesses, she has to pay $4,200 each six months to become eligible for Medicaid. Once that situation resolves itself, the court would expect the parties to return to this court for a review of spousal support.

Patterson v. Patterson (Doherty) No. CL 09-515, Dec. 28, 2012; Salem Cir.Ct.; Thomas E. Strelka, Rena G. Berry for the parties. VLW 012-8-205, 3 pp.

VLW 012-8-205

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