When a married couple decides to separate or divorce in Virginia, one of the critical issues that must be addressed is spousal support. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment made from one spouse to the other to support their living expenses after the divorce.
Virginia law allows for various types of spousal support agreements. The type of support awarded depends on the specific circumstances of the case, including the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of both parties, and the standard of living established during the marriage.
The first type of spousal support is known as “pendente lite” support, which is ordered on a temporary basis during the divorce proceedings. This type of support is intended to help the lower-income spouse maintain their standard of living while the divorce is pending. Pendente lite support can be modified or terminated when the divorce is finalized.
Another type of spousal support in Virginia is “rehabilitative” support, intended to provide financial assistance to a spouse while they gain the skills and education needed to become self-supporting. This type of support is awarded for a set period, and the receiving spouse is expected to make efforts to become self-supporting by the end of the term.
A third type of spousal support is “permanent” support, which is awarded when a marriage has lasted for a significant length of time, and one spouse needs ongoing financial assistance to maintain their standard of living. Permanent support may be subject to modification if there is a significant change in either spouse`s circumstances.
In Virginia, a spousal support agreement can be reached through negotiation between the spouses or ordered by a court after a hearing. If the spouses can reach an agreement, it can be incorporated into a separation agreement or divorce decree. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through the process of negotiating a spousal support agreement or advocating for your interests in court.
It is essential to address spousal support as early as possible in a divorce or separation case to ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of their financial obligations and rights. Failure to address spousal support properly can lead to significant financial consequences down the road.
In conclusion, if you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about spousal support in Virginia, the best course of action is to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. They can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.