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In Virginia, payments made to a former spouse for their financial support and maintenance is called “spousal support.”
The amount and duration of support varies widely from case to case depending on the parties’ circumstances. Some factors the court will consider include the following:
Because spousal support can be such a contentious piece of a divorce case, you should understand your rights and obligations regarding support before entering into any agreement with your spouse.
Any signed agreement can prejudice your case or even eliminate the requirement for support later in the case. Although no lawyer can provide an exact figure on what the court would order, they can provide guidance as far as how each factor might weigh in your case. A lawyer can also advise regarding recent court decisions in your area. In some cases, the court may award lifetime spousal support.
When your case begins, you have the option to file a motion to obtain temporary spousal support while the case is pending. In determining temporary support, the court will use guidelines depending on your jurisdiction. Fairfax, Harrisonburg, and Richmond each have their own applicable guidelines.
Other jurisdictions can choose whether to apply local guidelines from other jurisdictions or to focus on the needs of the petitioning spouse in determining support. There can be reasons to deviate from the guidelines, including whether the family has any special or exceptional needs.
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