When spouses decide to divorce, the spouse who needs financial assistance may have questions about spousal support. Spousal support is awarded in Virginia when it is necessary and it is intended to provide for the receiving spouse’s needs.
Generally, it is awarded in long-term marriages, where the spouses have a large gap in income, where one spouse has a disability or does not have a job.
When deciding whether to order spousal support, there are several factors the court may consider. These may include the incomes and financial needs of each party, their age, physical and mental conditions, their standard of living during the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
The court may also consider the contributions of one spouse to the education, training or increased earnings of the other spouse. There may also be circumstances that require one spouse to remain a stay-at-home parent, depending on the age of the couple’s children, which will also be reviewed.
Payments and modifications
Spousal support payments can be made in installments or in one lump sum. They can also be set for a specific time period or may be left in place indefinitely. However, spousal support ends when either spouse passes away.
Also, if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with another person in a marriage-like situation, the spousal support will end.
Either party can petition the court to change the amount of support, to increase or decrease it when there is a change in circumstances. An experienced attorney can help spouses navigate this process and other family law matters.