The first thing a person would need to look at to determine if spousal support can be terminated in Virginia is whether the spousal support obligation is modifiable. Assuming that it is, then a person would have to show a material financial change in circumstances that would justify the elimination of support, such as loss of income by the payor or a windfall of income by the payee. In addition, if the recipient of spousal support has remarried or entered into a cohabitation relationship for more than a year, then spousal support would likely end.
To determine whether your Virginia spousal support payments can be terminated, it is pertinent that you consult with an experienced alimony lawyer immediately.
Duration of Payments
If the spousal support obligation is in an agreement, it will state in the actual spousal support provision that spousal support shall be paid for “x” number of months or years. If there is no language putting a finite duration, then the presumption, legally, is that support is payable indefinitely.
If the parties agreed to terminate spousal support payments in Virginia, they could request a hearing, but if there have been no changes, then a modification of support will not be warranted.
In Virginia, there is technically no such thing as common law marriage. However, Virginia law indicates that if someone is engaging in a romantic relationship that involves cohabitation for a period of a year or more, then that will terminate spousal support payments in Virginia.
However, in such a case, the paying party still has to go to court and have a court make a finding that such a relationship exists. This could be a common law marriage, or it could simply be a cohabitation for the requisite period of time.
Termination of Support
Most spousal support obligations are subject to the limitations that spousal support ends upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient. A person does not need a judge to make that determination.
In order for spousal support to be tax-deductible on income tax, that particular provision regarding the termination of Virginia spousal support payments upon death is required to be part of the spousal support language.
Benefit of an Attorney
An attorney who has experience in spousal support litigation will be well aware of the factors that the court has to consider and which factors tend to be more important to judges. In addition, a spousal support attorney will have the ability to identify financial issues that could be addressed in a way to ensure more fairness.
For example, if a person is seeking to acquire spousal support and they have the ability and the tools necessary to earn a good income independently, a spousal support attorney would be able to guide the potential payor in understanding the steps to take to present evidence to the court of that person’s ability to work. This could potentially eliminate the possibility of spousal support being awarded or reduce the amount of spousal support that the court might order in that case.