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How is spousal support determined in Virginia?

If a request for spousal support has been made during your divorce, it is useful to know how that is determined and how spousal support awards are made. Spousal support is based on the consideration of variety of factors divorcing couples should be familiar with if spousal support is at issue during their divorce.

Eligibility for spousal support

When a request for spousal support has been made, the family law court will first evaluate the circumstances that led to the divorce, including if any adultery was alleged. A spouse who is found to have committed adultery will generally not be awarded spousal support.

Factors used to determine spousal support

Several factors are used to determine an award of spousal support if one is made including:

  • The incomes and financial needs of both spouses;
  • The age and mental and physical health conditions of the spouses;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The contributions of one of the spouses to the education, training or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  • The extent to which age, condition or special circumstances of any child of the couple would make it appropriate for one spouse to stay home; and
  • The property interests of the parties, including the property division settlement agreement.

Duration of spousal support

The duration can be for a specified period or ongoing or it may be paid as a lump sum. It also ends when the recipient spouse dies, remarries or cohabitates in a manner similar to marriage. In addition, it may be possible to modify a spousal support award based on a change in circumstances.

Spousal support is an important part of a divorce settlement agreement which is why divorcing couples should be familiar with how it is awarded.