For generations, divorced spouses have complained about the burden of alimony, also known as spousal support. In many cases in the past, the courts obligated one spouse, usually the husband, to make monthly support payments to the other, and those payments often lasted for the rest of one’s life or until the receiving spouse remarried. While spousal support is not always a given, there are still circumstances that may result in an order to pay alimony.
Each state has its own laws related to spousal support. Typically, the states follow a formula involving the incomes of both spouses and their capacity for earning to calculate a monthly amount. Additional factors may also affect whether alimony is warranted and the amount of support one spouse may be required to pay the other:
- How long they were married
- The physical and mental health of each spouse
- How old they are
- How they contributed financially or otherwise to the marriage
- Whether one spouse left work to raise children or help further the career of the other spouse
- The standard of living the spouses were used to during the marriage
Virginia courts may also consider factors such as whether one spouse committed adultery or treated the other with cruelty. In most cases, alimony is a bridge that provides support for lower-earning spouses until they can find the means to support themselves after a divorce. However, there may be situations where alimony payments will last indefinitely. If you are going through a divorce, you will want to be sure that any order for spousal support is fair and will not cause you financial harm.