Spousal support is one of the issues divorcing couples may need to resolve when they decide to end their marriage. In Virginia, spousal support is generally awarded only when it is necessary, so it is also useful to be aware of what necessary circumstances might be and when the court commonly awards spousal support.
In Virginia, the family law court may award spousal support during divorce in circumstances when there is a large gap in income between the spouses; when one spouse is not employed; when one spouse has a disability; and typically, when a marriage has been long-term rather than short-term. The nature, amount and duration of spousal support may also be awarded in different ways based on the family law court’s evaluation of the request for spousal support.
The family law court will consider a variety of factors when determining if and how it will award spousal support during divorce. Factors the court will look at include the incomes and financial needs of both spouses; the property interests of the spouses; the ages and mental and physical conditions of both spouses; the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; the duration of the marriage; if one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education, training or increased earning power; circumstances that may make it appropriate for one spouse to remain in the home; and other factors as well.
Because spousal support is a payment made by one of the former spouses to the other spouse following the divorce, it can be an acrimonious issue. Therefore, it beneficial for parties seeking or opposing spousal support to be familiar with how and in what circumstances it is granted. Information about how spousal support is awarded in Virginia can help provide a smoother spousal support process for the divorcing spouses.