Alimony in Virginia is financial obligation where one spouse is required to make regular payments or one lump sum payment to their former spouse so that they avoid financial hardship. The amount of alimony paid and duration that it is paid for may be decided upon by the couple during their separation agreement. If the couple can not come to an agreement, a judge will study their case and award alimony based on the financial circumstances of each spouse. in Virginia, any spouse whether they are female or male is eligible for alimony.
The state of Virginia does not order alimony as a punishment for marital misconduct, however, the reasons for the demise of the marriage are review by a judge when determining alimony. A spouse that commits a crime, cruelty or adultery may not be awarded alimony. However, a spouse that has child custody may be awarded alimony even if they committed adultery. The main factors that are considered when ordering alimony is the financial state of each spouse and their contribution to the marriage. The spouse requesting alimony must provide proof why awarding the alimony is necessary. Other factors include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Age, the physical and mental condition of either spouse
- The age, physical and mental condition of a child that may prevent a parent from being able to leave the home for a job.
- The division of the marital property
- Each spouse’s separate financial assets
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The employability of each spouse
A judge in Virginia may order alimony for a temporary period of time or permanently. Temporary alimony is awarded for a certain period of time to help the financially unstable spouse while they search for a job, return to school or return to a career that they gave up for the sake of the marriage or to become a stay-at-home parent.
A couple in Virginia may come to an agreement for a time period in which alimony will be paid. For example, a couple may agree to pay and receive alimony until all of their children graduate high school.
Permanent alimony is awarded to a spouse that is physically or mentally incapable of supporting themselves or is too old to return to the school or to the workforce. Permanent alimony is usually awarded to spouses that were involved in a long-term marriage.
A spouse may request the termination or a change in an alimony order if there is a significant change in their own or the receiving spouse’s circumstances. This includes:
- The paying spouse loses their job and can no longer afford to pay alimony
- The receiving spouse receives a large amount of money and is no longer financially disadvantaged
- Alimony is automatically terminated if the receiving spouse dies
- Alimony is automatically terminated if the paying spouse dies
- Alimony is automatically terminated if the receiving spouse is remarried
- The receiving spouse is in a serious long-term marriage-like relationship with another individual.