Spousal support is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial aid to a spouse during or after a divorce. The main purpose of alimony is to create equal standards of living for both individuals after a divorce. The amount of maintenance paid and the length of time it is paid for differs from case to case and depends on the specific circumstances of the marriage and divorce.
A couple may come to a mutual agreement on alimony or have it determined and enforced by the court.
Types of Spousal Support
- Temporary alimony may be granted if a couple is legally separated but not divorced. In the state of Virginia, temporary maintenance may be awarded to a spouse once a divorce is filed and paid until the divorce is finalized.
- Rehabilitative maintenance lasts for a specific amount of time and is granted to the dependent spouse while they prepare to return to work. It is also granted in the presence of young children that may delay the spouse’s return to work.
- Technical maintenance is paid until an agreed upon date. For example a couple may agree on payment of alimony until all of their children have become of legal age.
- Permanent maintenance continues indefinitely and is usually granted if the divorcing couple were married for a long period of time. Permanent maintenance may be terminated in certain conditions including:
- Death of paying the partner
- Death of receiving partner
- Remarriage of receiving partner
The state of Virginia rarely awards alimony in cases where spouses have committed adultery. Similarly, it does not order a spouse to pay maintenance if he/she has been accused of marital misconduct.
Determination of Spousal Support
To determine the amount of alimony paid, the length of time it is paid for and the spouse that shall be ordered to pay, the court investigates one spouse’s financial need versus the other’s ability to pay. Factors that the state of Virginia considers before determining alimony include:
- Duration of marriage
- Standard of living during marriage
- Contribution and decisions made by either spouse during marriage that may have affected their career/income (e.g. quitting job to raise children)
- Current and future income of both parties
- Financial assets
- Supporting party’s ability to pay
Modification of Spousal Support
If both parties involved in a divorce agree on a certain amount of alimony and include this agreement in their divorce settlement, the amount of maintenance may only be changed if the divorce settlement allows for future modification. A judge may permit a change in the amount of alimony paid if there is a major material change in circumstances. For example, if a receiving spouse’s income increases significantly, a judge may reduce the amount of maintenance paid. Moreover, a person that pays alimony may request that it be terminated if the receiving spouse is engaged in a marriage-like relationship.
If you need a Virginia Spousal Support lawyer to help you with your Alimony case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Spousal Support attorneys can help you. C