Spousal Support

Spousal support is the Virginia term for alimony. Courts have the authority to order a party to pay spousal support while the divorce case is pending and/or after the divorce has been finalized; to order a one-time payment or monthly payments; and/or to order support to end on a specified date after the divorce or continue until one party dies or the receiving spouse remarries. In short, courts have wide latitude to determine both the amount and duration of spousal support.

Although marriage is a pre-condition to receiving spousal support, having officially filed for divorce is not. Virginia law allows suits for separate maintenance to be filed by parties who have separated but have not yet formally begun the divorce process within the appropriate court.

For purposes of determining temporary support, the fundamental factors considered by the court are a payor spouse's ability to pay and a payee spouse's financial needs. When setting support upon the entry of a divorce however, courts consider a number of statutory factors, including, but not limited to, the duration of the marriage, the equitable distribution of property, the incomes and expenses of each party, and the factors which led to the breakdown of the marriage. Moreover, a spouse can be denied the receipt of spousal support based upon specific fault-based grounds of divorce.

The following are some common legal and factual issues related to spousal support:

-How does a court compute spousal support?

-Can parties waive spousal support in a settlement agreement?

-Is spousal support considered when determining child support?

-Is support paid to a former spouse considered when determining current spousal support?

-Can a stay-at-home parent be required to return to the workforce?

-Does marital fault affect spousal support?

-Can parties voluntarily agree to change court-ordered spousal support? -If a payee spouse begins living with a boyfriend or girlfriend, does that terminate the payor spouse's obligation to pay spousal support?

To view statutory law relevant to spousal support, follow this link to Code Sections

To view case law relevant to spousal support, follow this link to Case Finder

To obtain legal advice concerning spousal support or other family law issues, please contact Raynor & Farmer, P.C.