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The basics on spousal maintenance in Virginia

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Spousal Support |

Those in Fairfax County going through a divorce know that there are many financial issues that will need to be settled or decided by the court. Specifically, spouses will want to make sure they can care for themselves financially once they are single. For this reason, courts in Fairfax County may award spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support and alimony, to ensure both parties are able to maintain an appropriate standard of living post-divorce.

Spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is generally awarded for a limited period of time. However, sometimes permanent maintenance may be an option. This is only the case if there is clear and convincing evidence that denying spousal maintenance would result in a manifest injustice. Generally, though, spousal maintenance is of a defined duration, an undefined duration or in a lump sum.


There are a variety of factors the court will consider when awarding spousal support. The court will consider each party’s needs, obligations and financial resources. The court will also consider how long the marriage lasted and the standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married. Each spouse’s age and health will be considered. If a spouse is caring for a child with special needs making working outside the home impossible, this may also be considered. The contributions — both monetary and nonmonetary — that each spouse made towards the family may be considered.

Each party’s real and personal property may be taken into account. Each party’s earning capacity and their ability to obtain the education, training and experience to enhance this capacity will be considered. How much one spouse contributed to the education, training and job experience of the other spouse may be considered. Finally, any other factors that contributed to the divorce and what is necessary to make the result equitable may be considered.

Know your rights

Ultimately, spouses going through a divorce in Virginia will want to make sure they are aware of all their rights and options, especially considering spousal maintenance. With the right information, those going through a divorce can make informed decisions that are in their best interests.

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