Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Spousal support in Virginia

The financial impact of a divorce is often one of the most concerning to divorcing residents in Virginia. Splitting up assets and supporting two homes with the same resources that previously supported one can be a challenging thing. In some cases, one spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support to the other which can either help the receiving spouse or add to the challenge for the paying spouse. Just how does Virginia consider these awards?

As outlined by the Virginia State Bar, alimony is distinctly separate from any asset division settlement. It is not intended to be punitive or to allow one party to reimburse the other for any expenses. Rather, it is looked upon as a way of helping both parties maintain a lifestyle similar to that which they enjoyed during the marriage.

Alimony is calculated based upon a variety of factors including the married standard of living, the age and health of both spouses, how long a marriage lasted, whether or not one spouse needs to remain home to care for a child with special needs, and more. The financial requirements, assets and obligations of both parties are weighed in these decisions according to the Code of Virginia. Spousal support awards can require lump sum payments or installment payments. The latter may be ordered for a set period of time or for an undefined length of time.

In most cases, permanent alimony is not ordered. However, there can be cases in which a judge can find cause for lifetime maintenance to be paid from one spouse to the other. These generally involve the determination that failure to do so would be unfair in some manner. The economic situations of both spouses and any fault determined for the failure of the marriage may contribute to such a decision.

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