What factors impact spousal support in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Family Law |

In many households, one spouse works outside of the home to earn an income, while the other spouse focuses on taking care of the household. Even if both spouses are earning an income, one spouse may be earning significantly more than the other.

Because of this income disparity, Virginia courts will often award spousal support to the spouse who earns less money if the couple gets divorced. However, spousal support is not a given in any divorce.

Factors impacting spousal support

Family law courts will only award spousal support if it deems it necessary. If the court determines that spousal support is necessary, it will consider several factors when determining what type of support to award, the amount to award, and the duration of the payments. Some of these factors include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Marital standard of living
  • Age and health of the divorcing spouses
  • Incomes, property interests and financial needs of the divorcing spouses
  • Contributions made by one spouse toward the other spouse’s increased earning potential or education
  • Impact on the couple’s children (if the couple has children, it may be better in some cases if one spouse stays home)

Does fault impact spousal support?

The state of Virginia allows for at-fault divorces. In cases involving permanent spousal support, the court may also consider fault when determining whether to award spousal support, particularly adultery. Generally, a spouse proven to be having an affair is not likely to receive spousal support. However, courts may still award spousal support based on each spouse’s fault and economic circumstances.