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What Is Temporary Spousal Support in Virginia, and How Is It Calculated?

The end of a marriage doesn’t just signify a change in emotional ties. It’s often accompanied by significant financial shifts that demand immediate attention. Temporary spousal support is a mechanism within Virginia law that addresses these financial needs. But what exactly is temporary spousal support? More importantly, how do the courts calculate how much support a divorced spouse receives?

Types of Spousal Support (Alimony) in Virginia

While many people in Virginia may recognize the term “alimony,” remember that in Virginia, this term is synonymous with “spousal support.” There are several distinct types of spousal support available in Virginia, including.

  • Temporary Spousal Support (or Pendente Lite Support): Judges often award temporary spousal support during the separation phase until the divorce is finalized. This type of alimony ensures that the lower-earning spouse maintains a semblance of financial stability until there’s a more permanent solution.
  • Rehabilitative Spousal Support: This form of support is granted for a specific duration, primarily to allow the recipient spouse to receive education or training so they can return to the workforce. The goal here is to enable them to become financially self-sufficient in the near future.
  • Permanent Spousal Support: Unlike the rehabilitative type, permanent spousal support has no preset end date. It continues indefinitely, often until a significant event like the remarriage of the recipient spouse or the death of either party.
  • Lump-Sum Spousal Support: In some Virginia divorces, the higher-earning spouse will make a one-time payment to the receiving spouse. This type of alimony can benefit both parties, as it prevents ongoing financial ties.

How Is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated in Virginia?

The Code of Virginia contains a specific formula judges typically follow when making spousal support decisions, though they can deviate from this formula “for good cause.” The standard formula for calculating temporary spousal support depends on whether a couple has any minor children. If they do, the recipient spouse typically receives the difference between 26 percent of the paying spouse’s monthly income and 58 percent of the recipient spouse’s monthly income. If the couple has no minor children, the recipient spouse gets the difference between 27 percent of the paying spouse’s monthly income and 50 percent of the recipient spouse’s monthly income.

Another Virginia law contains a list of factors judges should consider when making alimony calculations, and these factors can play a significant role in the final award amount. The factors judges look at when calculating alimony payments include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living for both spouses during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, both monetary and non-monetary
  • Both spouses’ financial resources and debts, including any pensions or retirement accounts
  • Each spouse’s individual property and assets
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Each spouse’s ability to earn a living
  • Whether one spouse might need to stay home and raise any children from the marriage, particularly children with special needs
  • The existence of a valid prenuptial agreement
  • The potential tax consequences for each spouse

How Long Does Temporary Spousal Support Last in Virginia?

In Virginia, temporary spousal support typically lasts until the divorce is finalized and a more permanent spousal support arrangement is established. Given its temporary status, it’s crucial for all parties involved to be aware that this support can be replaced or terminated based on the final divorce decree and the court’s assessment of each spouse’s long-term needs and circumstances.

Spousal support is a complex issue in Virginia, and it’s crucial to protect your rights and secure your financial future. Call (703) 442-0040 or reach out online to speak to the Virginia spousal support attorneys at Roop Xanttopoulos Babounakis & Klam PLLC.

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