In Virginia, what is commonly referred to as alimony or maintenance is technically referred to as spousal support. Basically, spousal support is a court order in the context of a divorce in which one former spouse is ordered to pay money to the other spouse.

There are three basic types of spousal support. Which type a court is most likely to order depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual case. As such, a resident of Harrisonburg who has specific questions about spousal support may want to seek professional guidance.

To give an overview, in some cases, a court may order one spouse to make regular payments to the other spouse indefinitely, meaning the payments continue until the court issues a new order or until one of the spouses dies. If the person receiving payments re-marries or enters in to a relationship akin to marriage, support can be terminated. This form of permanent spousal support is generally reserved for long-term marriages and situations where one spouse, through no fault of his or her own, may lack the skills or experience to get a job that will offer adequate support.

In other cases, a court may find rehabilitative spousal support more appropriate. The distinctive feature of this sort of order is that it will end at a definite point in time. The idea behind rehabilitative support, as the name implies, is to give a spouse some financial support while he or she finds a job or improves his or her career prospects via education or training.

The other form of spousal support involves the court ordering one spouse to pay a certain sum of money to the other spouse. Once that amount is paid, the payor’s obligation is satisfied. Additionally, a court can legally reserve a person’s right to ask for spousal support down the road.