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Does Virginia Require Spousal Support In A Divorce?

Does Virginia Require Spousal Support in a Divorce?

If a marriage ends in divorce, then the spouses’ financial obligations to one another typically end. However, in some instances, one spouse could continue financially supporting the other through spousal support after the divorce is finalized and the parties have gone their separate ways.

Spousal support, also called alimony, is not required in Virginia, and neither spouse has a legal entitlement to collect spousal support. In Virginia, a judge will award alimony to a spouse only when it’s necessary. If one spouse is disabled or unable to work, if there’s a significant difference in income between the two spouses, or when long-term marriages are terminated, a judge may require one party to pay spousal support to the other.  

How Is Spousal Support Determined in Virginia?

Before the court can award alimony, a judge must first determine whether the person requesting alimony is entitled to receive it. To do this, the judge will examine the various factors that contributed to the divorce. In most cases, a spouse who committed adultery during the marriage will not be eligible to receive alimony.

If the person seeking spousal support is eligible to obtain it, then it will be up to the court to determine the appropriate amount and the duration of the support payments. In Virginia, spousal support is calculated based on the consideration of a variety of factors listed in Virginia Code § 20-107.1. Those factors include:

  • Income of each spouse, as well as each spouse’s financial needs and obligations (income from pension, profit sharing, and retirement plans is also considered)
  • The couple’s standard of living
  • The length of the marriage
  • Age, physical health, and mental health of each spouse, along with any special familial circumstances
  • If the couple has children, the extent to which any child’s age, physical condition, mental condition, or special needs make it appropriate for a spouse to stay at home
  • Financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the family’s overall welfare
  • Property interests of each spouse
  • Earning potential for each spouse
  • Whether a spouse is able to acquire the necessary education and training to secure employment and improve their earning potential
  • The extent to which one spouse has contributed to the other’s education and training

Spousal support can be paid all at once in a lump sum payment or in periodic installments. Either party can also request a modification of the original support order at a later date. For instance, if you pay spousal support and you lose your job or suffer a major financial setback, you could petition the court to modify your present arrangement and decrease your payments or even ask to terminate the arrangement altogether. To have the best chance of success, you should hire a reputable divorce attorney to represent you.  

How Long Does Alimony Last in Virginia?

Judges have the authority to grant support for an indefinite period or for a defined period of time. The duration of alimony payments is typically based on the duration of the marriage and other factors.

If you have questions regarding how long you will have to pay alimony after a divorce or how long you can expect to receive it, you should speak to an attorney who can evaluate your situation and offer you tailored advice.  

Contact a Virginia Beach Divorce Attorney

If you need help requesting spousal support in Virginia Beach or need to modify an existing spousal support order, contact the Virginia beach divorce attorney of Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. right away for a confidential consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to help you seek a favorable resolution. Call us at (757) 962-5588 today.


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