If a Virginia married couple files for divorce, especially if they have children, it typically sets off a chain of events that includes a decision-making process for both spouses. Even if two spouses kept certain funds in separately owned bank accounts during their marriage, they are still, by law, financially responsible for each other as long as the marriage lasts. If a divorce occurs, one spouse could ultimately face a court order to pay alimony to his or her former partner.
Alimony is similar to child support but is financial support provided to a former spouse. It’s common in cases where one spouse sacrificed a post-secondary education or career in order to stay home full-time during the marriage and raise a family. There are other instances where a family court judge might determine that alimony should be included in a divorce settlement as well.
Virginia law prohibits spouses who have cheated from receiving alimony
State law allows alimony to be paid on the basis of need. However, if a spouse requests alimony in a divorce and the other spouse has evidence that the spouse making the request committed infidelity during the marriage, then he or she is legally prohibited from receiving alimony.
The court determines whether alimony is temporary or permanent
Since no two divorces are exactly the same, the court makes decisions at its own discretion under guidelines provided by the state. Alimony payments often occur on a temporary basis until the former spouse receiving it becomes financial stable and able to provide for his or her own needs. In some cases, however, alimony payments can remain permanent. Any spouse who has filed for divorce in Virginia and has questions about spousal support could benefit by requesting a meeting with an experienced family law attorney for guidance.