Period Of Payment For Spousal Support In Virginia

You may have seen on the news or in magazines that Demi Moore has dropped a request for spousal support as part of her divorce from Ashton Kutcher.  

Articles such as the October 30, 2013 edition of “Page Six” in the New York Post may make requests for spousal support seem a bit trivial, especially when one multi-millionaire requests it from another multi-millionaire. But, for many divorcing couples, the issue of spousal support is far from trivial. 

How is spousal support determined in Virginia?

Virginia state law does not mandate a set period for spousal support after a divorce. Virginia Code 20.107.1 outlines how courts may decree the “maintenance and support of spouses” within the commonwealth of Virginia. 

The length of time that one spouse may pay spousal support, or alimony, to another is known as the period of payment. This period will typically vary depending upon the length of the marriage, as such:

  • A marriage of less than five years often results in no spousal support, particularly if the marriage produced no children.
  • A marriage of between five and 20 years often results in an award of spousal support for a period equal to one-half the length of the marriage. For example, a marriage lasting eight years may result in an award of spousal support for a period of four years.
  • A marriage of more than 20 years typically results in permanent spousal support for the spouse who earned less money during the marriage. Judges typically base this decision on a “traditional family” model, in which one spouse served as the “breadwinner,” and the other worked at home to care for children and maintain the household. 

Judges also take other factors into consideration, such as adultery. An adulterous spouse who requests spousal support may ultimately receive none. 

Enlist the help of a skilled attorney familiar with Virginia statutes relating to spousal support. Darrell M. Harding, Attorney at Law has decades of experience serving clients in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

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