Q: Is 20 yrs a magic # for permanent spousal support in VA or is there little difference if one files divorce after 19 1/2?
62-year-old spouse has been a stay-at-home parent the entire time.
There is currently no formula for permanent spousal support, the type awarded upon decreeing a divorce, in Virginia. An award of permanent spousal support, which may be for a fixed term, in a lump sum, or indefinitely until either party dies, or until the payee spouse remarries or cohabits in a marital-like relationship for at least a year, is within the judge's discretion after considering the factors in Virginia Code Section 20-107.1
The fact that there is no formula for permanent spousal support is somewhat vexing for divorce lawyers, particularly those who settle cases rather than try them. I have heard of some "magic formulas" invented by some lawyers, or claimed to be customary, such as support will be awarded for half the length of the marriage, or one can expect permanent support for an indefinite period after 10 years of marriage. None of that is correct. There is currently no formula. Period.
There are formulas for temporary spousal support in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court or as pendente lite relief incidental to a pending divorce case in Circuit Court.
Anyone facing separation and divorce in Virginia should consult with an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer.
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