Divorce and Spousal Support

The initial decision one must make when facing the prospect of divorce is whether to allege fault on the part of their spouse.  Virginia recognizes several fault-based grounds for divorce to include adultery, abuse, and abandonment.  Whether a court finds there to be fault on the part of a spouse can potentially affect child custody, spousal support, and martial property distribution.

When considering the prospect of spousal support, a court will first determine whether the requesting party is at fault for the demise of the marriage.  If so, that party is not entitled to spousal support.  If no fault ground exists, a court will consider the needs and abilities of each party to pay in fashioning an order to maintain their lifestyles as they were during the marriage.

If the parties involved can agree to a “non-fault” divorce, the process can be relatively straight-forward without having to resort to extensive litigation.  Even if there is a dispute as to custody, support, or property between the parties, alternative dispute resolution is an option that enables many to streamline the divorce process.  Alternatives such as mediation, and binding arbitration, afford both parties an opportunity to privately settle matters of contention in a nonadversarial manner.