Not all Virginia divorces will include negotiations or hearings concerning alimony. This is because not all marriages end with one party financially disadvantaged when compared to the other. When one party to a marriage has given up their opportunity to earn an income or put their own career on hold in support of their partner and their family, they may have grounds on which to assert a request for spousal support.

Spousal support is intended to give a person a chance to get on their feet after ending their relationship. If they do not have any money or earnings of their own, it may be next to impossible for them to find a new residence, establish a new life, and move into their future without financial help. Alimony may be used to rehabilitate a person to re-enter the workforce to become self-sufficient or to help them obtain the education they need to secure gainful employment.

In some situations courts may allow individuals to receive alimony indefinitely. In some cases, long-term marriages end, and individuals may be decades removed from working and may have no marketable skills to use for seeking employment. They may also be of retirement age or otherwise unable to hold down work due to disabilities; support between former spouses can endure if factors warrant such action.

When considering a request for alimony, a court can look at many factors to decide if it is justified. Age, length of the marriage, and the capacity of the individuals to work may be some of the relevant considerations courts will make before implementing support obligations between the parties to a divorce.