Virginia Code Section 20-107.1 provides that pursuant to a divorce, a court may reserve the right of a party to receive spousal support in the future. Furthermore, “in any case so reserved, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the reservation will continue for a period equal to 50 percent of the length of time between the date of marriage and the date of separation. Once granted, the duration of such reservation shall not be subject to modification.”
What does this mean? This means that in lieu of a spousal support award, or in addition to a spousal support award, a Virginia court can grant a reservation for one or both parties to seek additional spousal support from the other in the future.
Why would a spouse not elect to immediately pursue his or her reservation? Because it’s not as simple as it looks. Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 20-109, the court “may increase, decrease or terminate the amount or duration of the [spousal support] award upon finding that (i) there has been a material change in circumstances of the parties, not reasonably in the contemplation of the parties when the award was made or (ii) an event which the court anticipated would occur during the duration of the award and which was significant in the making of the award, does not in fact occur through no fault of the party seeking the modification.”
This means that there has to be a good reason to modify the original spousal support award. The party attempting to invoke his or her reservation cannot do so simply because he or she wants some extra cash. He or she must persuade the court that there has been a material change of circumstances. The factors set forth in Virginia Code Section 20-107.1(E) may be considered in the evaluation of the modification.
For more information, see Spousal Support in Virginia.
If you are facing a separation or divorce in Virginia where a reservation of spousal support might be required, be sure to review your options with an experienced family law attorney. Livesay & Myers, P.C. has teams of divorce lawyers representing clients across Northern Virginia on matters of spousal support and divorce. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.