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What forms can spousal support take in Virginia?

In some Virginia divorces, courts order one spouse to pay alimony to the other. Spousal support can vary greatly in amount. It can also vary in form. Today, we’ll go over the different forms of alimony that courts can grant under state law.

Regular payments

When many people think of alimony, they may think of payments made at regular intervals (such as monthly payments). These are referred to as periodic payments in state law. There are two forms of such payments that courts in the state can order.

For one, a court could order regular payments that have a specified termination date. These are known as periodic payments for a defined duration, or rehabilitative spousal support.

Also, courts can order regular payments with no set termination date. This arrangement is called periodic payments for an undefined duration, or permanent spousal support.

As a note, in both of these setups, there are certain events that would generally trigger an end to the support, such as a remarriage of the party receiving alimony.

A lump sum

However, alimony doesn’t have to mean ongoing payments at regular intervals. Another option courts have is to order that a lump sum amount be paid. This could mean a one-time payment. Or it could mean a series of installment payments.

A combination of forms

It is important to note that courts aren’t limited to using just one of the above-mentioned alimony forms when making spousal support orders. Rather, state law allows courts to use any combination of these forms in its awards.

So, Virginia courts have a pretty wide range of discretion in what forms of alimony they can grant. Also, parties can reach all sorts of different alimony arrangements if they opt to address the issue of spousal support by agreement. So, what alimony looks like can vary considerably from case to case.

What happens regarding the issue of spousal support in a divorce, including what form any alimony arrangement that is reached takes, can have considerable implications for both spouses. So, a divorcing individual may want skilled legal advice when going through spousal support negotiations or proceedings.

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