In Virginia, when a couple gets divorced, one may be ordered to pay spousal support – also referred to as maintenance – to the other. There are many factors that are considered when the determination is made as to how much will be paid. That can include the duration of the marriage, the lifestyle the couple shared while they were married, the income of the parties, and the ability on the part of the receiving spouse to find suitable employment. Even after the award is decided upon, there can still be legal concerns that need to be addressed.
Changing spousal support in Virginia
One common issue is if the support order should be modified. Having legal assistance can be essential from the perspective of the paying former spouse and the receiving former spouse. Either party can ask for a modification of the order. This can be for it to be increased, decreased or ended. The court can terminate spousal support if it finds that the recipient has been living with another person in a relationship that is comparable to a marriage and it began on or after July 1, 1997. The spouse receiving support may be able to avoid termination of support if he or she proves the decision to be unfair or if there is a stipulation allowing it in the order.
A material change in circumstances can warrant a modification. If either side suffered job loss or living expenses changed markedly and it is deemed necessary for the award to be changed, then the court can modify it. A party reaching full retirement age is another factor that could be viewed as a material change in circumstances and might result in the award being modified.
For a modification, professional assistance can be critical
When either the paying former spouse or the receiving former spouse would like spousal support to be modified, it is possible that there could be an agreement between the parties to do so. Often, however, there is a dispute over the request and it is necessary to have the court make the decision. For help with a case, it is important to have legal protection and representation. Having experienced advice is a wise step.