Virginia Temporary Spousal Support Guidelines

In Virginia, temporary (“pendente lite”) spousal support may be ordered during the pendency of a divorce. This would be toward the beginning of the litigation, before a divorce is finalized.


Might your spouse owe you spousal support? How much should you receive? Well, the recently updated Virginia Temporary Spousal Support Guidelines can help you get a better understanding of what you are owed.


What is Temporary Spousal Support?


The purpose of temporary spousal support is to allow a spouse who may be financially disadvantaged and/or dependent upon the other spouse to take care of personal, family, and/or household expenses.


Alimony, or “permanent” spousal support, may still continue after the divorce is finalized, but temporary spousal support is different; it only lasts from the time of filing until the time of the final divorce decree. The goal of temporary spousal support in Virginia is to meet the needs of the recipient spouse during the pendency of litigation. On the other hand, permanent alimony is meant to satisfy the need of the recipient spouse after the divorce is finalized.


[Related: FAQ About Divorce in Virginia]


How are Temporary Spousal Support Payments Made?

Virginia Temporary Spousal Support Guidelines

Generally, these payments are made in cash (e.g. check, direct deposit, income deduction, etc.) However, temporary spousal support may also take the form of a requirement that the obligated spouse pays certain debts of the recipient. This could be a mortgage, utility bills, medical expenses, etc.


Virginia Temporary Spousal Support Calculation


As of July 1, 2023, the Virginia General Assembly made changes to the spousal support calculation which is found in Virginia Code Section 16.1-278.17.1. This is intended to provide a fair and predictable amount of support until a court has the opportunity for a full trial on whether ongoing spousal support will be awarded, and how much will be awarded.


This formula IS NOT intended to calculate the amount of spousal support that may be paid after a divorce is finalized. In fact, the courts cannot use the formula for that purpose.


This is for information purposes only and is NOT a substitute for obtaining legal advice. If you are in the process of a divorce or contemplating filing for divorce, you need to have an attorney on your case. Here at Cook, Craig, and Francuzenko, our attorneys have over a century of combined experience and are recognized as leaders in the legal community. We have the experience, knowledge, and skill to guide you through the divorce process.


You can view the calculator here.

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