There are many common and understandable concerns divorcing couples face as they begin the divorce process. One of those concerns may be alimony, or spousal support, and if one spouse will be required to make a spousal support payment to the other following their divorce.

Alimony is a payment one former spouse may be required to pay to the other former spouse in some instances. Alimony can be a difficult topic in many divorces so it is helpful for divorcing couples to be prepared for it and know how to protect their interests. Spousal support is generally only awarded in Virginia when it is necessary. Situations in which the family law court may find it is necessary can include following the end of a long-term marriage, when there is a significant gap in incomes or when one spouse is disabled or unemployed.

The family law court will evaluate several factors to determine if an alimony award is appropriate and the amount and duration of any award. Factors that may be considered include the incomes and financial needs of the spouses; the age and mental and physical conditions of the spouses; the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; the duration of the marriage; if one spouse contributed to the education, training or earning power of the other spouse; if the age or special circumstances of a child of the spouses makes it appropriate for one spouse to remain in the home; and the property interests of the parties.

The family law court will determine the nature and duration of an alimony awarded if one is made; additionally, it may be possible to modify an alimony award so divorced spouses may also want to be familiar with that process as well. Alimony can sometimes be a challenging part of any divorce which is why divorcing spouses should be familiar with the standards the family law court uses to determine spousal support so they can better know what to expect from their situation.