Spousal Support in a Virginia Divorce

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, is one of the most frequently litigated issues in divorce.   When asking a Virginia Court to award or deny spousal support, a divorce attorney focuses argument on the following factors set forth in Virginia Code 20-107.1.

  1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
  2. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  3. The duration of the marriage;
  4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;
  5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;
  6. The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
  8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;
  9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;
  10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;
  11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;
  12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and
  13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Temporary Virginia Spousal Support Awards in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts

Frequently, a party will seek a temporary Virginia spousal support award during the separation period prior to filing for a divorce.  In these cases, a petition for temporary spousal support is filed in one of Virginia’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts.  These courts are bound by different statutory requirements when establishing temporary, or pendente lite, spousal support.  The straightforward calculation of a presumptively correct spousal support amount narrows the arguments available to the divorce attorney.  The formula for temporary spousal support is found in Virginia Code § 16.1-278.17:1.:

  • C. If the parties have minor children in common, the presumptive amount of an award of pendente lite spousal support and maintenance shall be the difference between 28% of the payor spouse’s monthly gross income and 58% of the payee spouse’s monthly gross income. If the parties have no minor children in common, the presumptive amount of the award shall be the difference between 30% of the payor spouse’s monthly gross income and 50% of the payee spouse’s monthly gross income. For the purposes of this section, monthly gross income shall have the same meaning as it does in section § 20-108.2, as amended.

The court may deviate from the presumptive spousal support amount under certain circumstances. A discussion of these circumstances is beyond the scope of this general Virginia divorce information and is best left for a discussion with a family law attorney who is familiar with the facts of your case.

Our divorce attorneys regularly represent clients involved in spousal support litigation in the courts of Central Virginia including the cities and towns of Lynchburg, Bedford, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Forest, Farmville, and Rustburg as well as surrounding areas including the counties of Bedford, Amherst, CampbellAppomattox, Nelson, Roanoke, Albemarle, Prince Edward, and Buckingham, to name just a few.