Spousal support or alimony, as it is often referred to, is awarded in divorces in Virginia to help the recipient spouse avoid financial hardships caused by the divorce. Alimony can be awarded in a lump sum or a variety of payment methods, such as monthly or other periodic payments, for a specific duration or for the supported spouse’s lifetime. If you are receiving spousal support for life, it can terminate if you remarry or cohabitate with another person if certain circumstances apply.
How Remarrying Could Affect Your Alimony Payment
In Virginia, spousal support is automatically terminated if the payee spouse remarries. However, there are a few exceptions when alimony can continue. Here are details on how this all works:
- The automatic termination rule only applies to periodic or monthly payments.
- Any required lump sum payment of alimony is not terminated upon remarriage or death.
- In limited circumstances, the judge can order that spousal support will continue after the recipient remarries if she has an unusual financial burden or need.
Cohabitation: Another Reason That Your Alimony Could Stop
If you cohabitate with another person for one year or more, your alimony may also be terminated. Cohabitation is a live-in relationship where the couple acts like they are married that continues for at least one year. Occasional sleepovers do not meet this requirement. In addition, the supporting spouse has the burden of proving that the parties are living together. Even then, the termination of support will not be granted if the divorce judgment provides that cohabitation does not stop the spousal support obligation or the supported person proves that terminating financial assistance would be unconscionable.
Do you have other questions about spousal support obligations or other family law matters in Virginia? Schedule your free consultation with our experienced family law attorneys to discuss your concerns and learn how we can help you protect your rights. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.