How long will it last? Duration of Spousal Support in Virginia

Any many are aware, Virginia law allows a court to award spousal support—commonly referred to as alimony—to an ex-spouse upon divorce. Such support can be ordered to be made in “periodic payments for a defined duration, or in periodic payments for an undefined duration, or in a lump sum award, or in any combination thereof.” Va. Code § 20-107.1(C). In determining the amount and duration of support, the Court is directed to consider a list of factors outlined in Va. Code § 20-107.1(E). The Court is not directed to value any one factor over another, as evidenced by a recent decision from the Virginia Court of Appeals.

In Hyat v. Hina, the Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in which the wife was awarded spousal support of $2,100 per month for an indefinite duration based on a 10-month marriage. While this ruling may be unusual, the Court of Appeals determined that it was appropriate based on the facts of the case, specifically the wife’s need for support and the husband’s ability to pay. In this case, wife was prevented from working lawfully in the United States because her employer discontinued sponsorship of her employment visa through no fault of her own and her husband withdrew his petition for a family-based visa. Without a valid visa, the wife was unable to seek the employment opportunities that might have otherwise been available to her. Wife was further prevented from seeking employment in another country because she was required by a court order not to remove her young son from the United States. Thus, based on a consideration of the factors, the Court found that an award of spousal support for an indefinite period was appropriate in this case.

This is not always the case and the amount and time of support granted by a court will depend on the facts involved in your particular case.

If you have questions about spousal support or divorce in general and need assistance from someone with intimate knowledge Virginia family law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm at 804-423-1382 or to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced Virginia attorneys.