Temporary Spousal Support Is Available as You Finalize Your Divorce

When a couple decides to get a divorce, things can change very quickly, especially if there are some negative feelings involved.

For instance, consider the situation where you and your partner are still negotiating—through your Virginia family law attorneys—over the spousal support that will be appropriate when the divorce is finalized. In the meantime, your spouse has left the house and has taken took most of the money. Living in such a state of affairs can be really difficult, especially if you do not have current job skills or the ability to earn a living wage, or if you have been staying at home with the children the past few years.

Under these circumstances, it is possible to file for temporary spousal support in Virginia as the final details of your divorce are worked out. In legal jargon, this is called a petition for pendente lite spousal support; the Latin phrase means “while the lawsuit is under consideration.”

There is a general formula used to determine temporary spousal support, but it can vary from county to county and under different judges. Typically, if you and your spouse have minor children in common, the presumptive amount of pendente lite spousal support will be difference between 28 percent of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 58 percent of the payee spouse's monthly gross income. If you and your spouse do not have any minor children in common, the presumptive amount of the award will be the difference between 30 percent of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 50 percent of the payee spouse's monthly gross income.

This formula is only valid for cases in which the parties' combined monthly gross income does not exceed $10,000. Also, the court has the option to deviate from the standard formula if the judge is presented with any relevant evidence that shows it is inappropriate. Your Virginia alimony attorney should be prepared to argue for a level of temporary spousal support that best meets your needs, whether you are the family wage-earner or the expected payee.