Wed May 22 2019

The shorter answer is “yes,” but the longer answer is that while judges have the authority to award spousal support with no end date, such awards are occurring less and less. There are two types of alimony or spousal support in Virginia: rehabilitative support and permanent support. Rehabilitative support helps a spouse get back on his or her feet and become self-supporting. A judge might award such support in order to allow a person who has been out of the workforce to update his or her skills through additional training or education. Rehabilitative support is generally awarded in shorter marriages (fewer than 20 years). When ordered, it will have a defined duration, whether that is one year or longer. Permanent support, while not necessarily “permanent,” is alimony that does not have a defined end date. Permanent spousal support may be awarded to men or women. Courts generally award permanent support in cases in which the parties were married for a long time or in which a spouse's age or health issues make it difficult for him or her to become self-sufficient. With permanent spousal support awards, the party paying spousal support can return to court to modify or terminate payments if the financial circumstances of the parties have changed or if the recipient spouse remarries or begins cohabiting with another person.