Spousal support, or alimony, has undergone a sort of revolution over the years. At one time, a divorced wife almost always received some form of spousal support. These days, husbands may be the ones to receive support. However, courts do not award alimony to either spouse as freely as they once did.
Alimony still exists, but courts in Virginia (and elsewhere) view it more as a stepping stone to financial security than as a right of divorce. If you are preparing for a divorce and believe you need and deserve spousal support, consider increasing your knowledge about Virginia law.
What types of spousal support are available?
Divorcing spouses in Virginia have three spousal support options as described below.
- Periodic support – unspecified duration: For example, one spouse makes monthly alimony payments to the other indefinitely or until a court says otherwise.
- Periodic support – specified duration: For example, a court may award the lesser-earning party spousal support for a specific period to help them find their financial footing.
- One lump-sum award: As its name indicates, the spouse awarded alimony may receive the entire amount in one lump-sum payment.
The lump-sum option can benefit both spouses. The receiving spouse gets a large sum of money to build a new future. The paying spouse gets to avoid making monthly payments.
Can you waive spousal support in Virginia?
Yes, spouses can decide not to seek alimony in our state. However, it is unwise to make this decision in haste. If you experience financial hardships in the future, you may need the alimony you passed up.
Like other aspects of divorce, spousal support issues can be complicated. The guidance an experienced family law professional offers can help you get the alimony option that provides the most benefits.