Spousal Support

How long do you have to be married to receive spousal support in Virginia?

Going through the process of divorce can be difficult and filled with uncertainty, especially if you’re unsure of what your financial future will hold. Fortunately, a judge in Virginia may award spousal support to dependent spouses as part of their judgment.

Whether the judge awards spousal support and how much they award will depend on a number of factors, one of them being “the duration of the marriage.” In Virginia, there is no specific timeframe that a married couple must meet to qualify for spousal support. A judge has a certain degree of latitude to decide the matter of support in a given case.

However, the duration of a marriage is clearly a factor that will impact the question of spousal support in a divorce. A brief marriage, as a result, may lead a judge to award little spousal support or no spousal support at all. A longer marriage, in contrast, may result in a larger award of spousal support.

The duration of the marriage is not the only factor a judge will take into account when considering spousal support, however. Keep reading to learn more about how spousal support is awarded in Virginia, and then contact a compassionate and skilled family law attorney at Deering Hedrick to discuss your case. Call us today at 757-317-5676 or reach us online for a consultation.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is a financial payment that one spouse provides to the other. One spouse may pay support:

  • While the divorce is pending (temporary support)
  • For a set number of months or years after the final divorce decree

Temporary support may be available to help one spouse meet their financial obligations while waiting for a final judgment.

In the final judgment, the court may award spousal support. There are two main kinds of spousal support the judge can award in the final divorce decree. These are rehabilitative and permanent support.

Rehabilitative support is commonly awarded when one spouse left their career for family reasons. This could be to raise their children or support the other spouse’s career. Rehabilitative support provides the recipient with time and finances to acquire an education or training to find employment.

The recipient spouse may receive permanent support if they are unable to become self-supporting for reasons the court fines valid. This could include disability or age.

Factors for Considering and Calculating Spousal Support

Spousal support is not automatically awarded under Virginia law. The court awards spousal support based on the circumstances of your individual case. The court may consider several factors when they determine whether to award spousal support and the amount to be awarded. These factors may include:

  • Financial resources of both parties
  • Obligations and needs of both parties
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • The age and physical and mental condition of both parties
  • Any special circumstances in the family
  • Reasons that one party may not be able to seek employment
  • Contributions – monetary and nonmonetary – the parties made to the well-being of the family
  • Property interests of both parties
  • Earning capacity of both parties

There is no hard and set mathematical formula a judge uses to award spousal support. The court considers each of the factors before making a decision. In some cases, the marriage may have been so short, or your income so similar, that the court does not award spousal support payments.

However, an experienced family law attorney will look at multiple considerations to build a case on your behalf, and in instances when spousal support is not awarded, your lawyer may be able to explore other avenues to provide you with financial relief, such as the settlement of your property and assets, tax considerations, child support, and more.

How a Virginia Family Lawyer Can Help

To protect your rights and seek the spousal support you deserve, contact our Virginia family law lawyer at Deering Hedrick. Attorney Mike Deering has the experience needed to take on the most complex divorce cases, and his commitment to his clients and his passion for family law have earned him the honor of being named one of Virginia’s Legal Elite.

Don’t hesitate to talk to a knowledgeable, skilled attorney who fights tirelessly for his client’s rights. Call Deering Hedrick today at 757-317-5676 or contact us online for a consultation.



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