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What to know about spousal support in Virginia

Many couples get divorced in Virginia every year. Divorce can have a big impact on each spouse's finances so it is important for people thinking about getting divorced to understand the financial implications of divorce. 

One of the biggest things many people worry about during divorce proceedings is if and how spousal support will be awarded. Many spouses receive spousal support from their exes after their divorce, some for a limited amount of time and others for an indefinite period. Spousal support can impact both spouses' financial future so it is important to understand the basics of spousal support. 

Spousal support is determined by several factors. Judges will consider the reason for the divorce and determine if spousal support should be awarded or not. Other factors that are considered for spousal support are listed below: 

  • Age of both spouses
  • Each spouse's assets and earning potential
  • Length of marriage

Spousal support is supposed to help the spouse who does not make as much money or does not have as much wealth as the other spouse. Spousal support should help spouses afford the same lifestyle they had while they were married. 

Spousal support can be awarded as a lump sum or in payments. If spousal support is awarded after the divorce, individuals should know that it can be modified in the future if either party has a change of circumstances. Changes that could result in a modification include a change in job status or income, disability or remarriage in some cases. 

Individuals going through divorce or those thinking about getting divorced should understand basic spousal support laws and how awards are determined. This will help them plan for the financial impact of the divorce and help them create a budget for the future.

Source: Virginia State Bar, "Divorce in Virginia," Dec. 11, 2013

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