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Understanding the different types of alimony in Virginia

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Divorce & Family Law

Alimony, also known as spousal support, refers to money paid by one spouse to another following a divorce. In Virginia, the type of alimony awarded depends on the circumstances of the divorce.

These are the different types of alimony in Virginia.

1. Temporary alimony

Temporary alimony, also referred to as pendente lite alimony, pays the lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceedings. This type of alimony is temporary and ends once you finalize the divorce. Its purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain their standard of living during the divorce process.

2. Rehabilitative alimony

Rehabilitative alimony aims to help the lower-earning spouse become self-sufficient. It provides payments while they acquire the necessary education or training to become employable. Rehabilitative alimony ends once the spouse has become self-sufficient.

3. Permanent alimony

The court can award permanent alimony when one spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to factors like age, disability or other reasons. This type of alimony aims to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse for the rest of their life. Permanent alimony ends when either spouse dies or the recipient spouse remarries.

4. Lump sum alimony

Lump sum alimony is a one-time payment of a specific amount of money to the spouse who earns less. This type of alimony is usually awarded when the lower-earning spouse needs a lump sum of money to become self-sufficient or to pay off debt.

5. Nominal alimony

Note that in Virginia, the court may also award “nominal” alimony. This is typically a small amount of money paid for a limited time or indefinitely, and its purpose is to maintain the court’s jurisdiction over the case in case there is a need to modify the alimony award in the future. This may be useful if circumstances change, such as if the lower-earning spouse experiences an unexpected hardship or if the higher-earning spouse’s income changes significantly.

Overall, understanding the distinct types of alimony available in Virginia can help you make informed decisions during the divorce process and equip you to navigate the complexities of alimony.