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Part 1: How does Virginia handle spousal support?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Family Law

Our state believes that both people in a marriage are financially responsible to each other until they divorce. However, in some cases, that financial duty can continue past that point of divorce through spousal support (also known as alimony). In this first blog post, we will explore how Virginia handles spousal support.

Threshold issues

Blacksburg–Christiansburg Metropolitan Area spouses should understand that Virginia law dictates that spousal support can only be awarded by a family law judge when alimony is absolutely necessary. And, the timing for the alimony is similarly dictated based on the factors and circumstances of the marriage, the reasons for the marriage dissolutions and the spousal support factors found in Virginia Code § 20-107.1.

Spousal support factors

The family court judge determines the duration, nature and amount of the spousal support based on several factors. These include both spouses’ incomes (actual and potential) and their financial need, which includes the standard of living that was established during the duration of the marriage. The judge also looks at how each spouse contributed to the other spouse’s success. This could be like paying for education, training, taking care of the kids to increase the other spouse’s earning potential, etc.

The judge also looks at the spouses themselves. This includes both spouses’ mental and physical condition, their age and any disabilities and how this will affect their financial need and ability to earn a living.

Finally, the judge will look at any separate property interests, the duration of the marriage and children from the marriage. For the children, they will also look at how the children’s age, disability, etc., will affect either spouse and their ability to earn a living.

How is it paid?

Payments are usually processed through the state. However, while they are usually paid through periodic payments, a lump sum payment can be paid. In future Pearisburg, Virginia, posts, we will explore additional Virginia spousal support topics.