If you are in the process of filing for divorce in Virginia, you need to understand the laws regarding spousal support. In Virginia, spouses have a duty to provide financial support for each other, but also to provide financial support for themselves. Spousal support in Virginia is an award for financial support that is granted to a dependent spouse.
Also known as maintenance or alimony, this award is dependent upon the following factors:
- Length of marriage.
- Income of both parties.
- Spousal contribution to the marriage.
- Financial needs of each spousal party.
- Debt and resources of each spousal party.
- Physical and mental health conditions of both spouses.
- Work, education and earning history/ability of both spouses.
Spousal support or maintenance can either be agreed upon by both parties or awarded by a court order. Virginia does not use a specific formula to determine how much spousal support is awarded, but considers the factors listed above. A spouse can file for temporary spousal support before a divorce is finalized.
How the Courts Award Spousal Support
When determining spousal support in Virginia, the courts will take into consideration the circumstances leading up to the divorce. If the divorce is a “fault” divorce, in which a spouse is guilty of committing adultery, or some other guilty action leading to the dissolution of the marriage, then the guilty spouse may be ineligible to receive spousal support.
Alimony is determined at the discretion of the court, based on the circumstances of fault, financial circumstances leading to the dissolution of marriage and other factors. Spousal support must be sought prior to the issuance of the final divorce decree. Once the divorce has been made final, neither party can file for spousal support.
If you are considering divorce and would like more information on spousal support in Virginia, do not hesitate to consult with an attorney that handles divorce law.