When Can Spousal Support Be Terminated?
I recently had a client ask this question as she was advised by her previous attorney that the agreement she signed provided for spousal support even if she remarried. Unfortunately for her, that attorney was incorrect.
Spousal Support Terms
If spousal support is awarded by the Court (and not by agreement of the parties), the amount and duration of the support can be modified by the court in the future upon a material change in circumstances. Also, in accordance with § 20-109, it is subject to termination upon “the death of either party, remarriage of the spouse receiving support,” or “upon clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving support has been habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more.”
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If spousal support is agreed to by the parties, they can agree to make the support non-modifiable, but they must use the specific language set forth in § 20-109(c). The parties can also agree that the spousal support will not be subject to termination upon death, remarriage or cohabitation, but the agreement must expressly state the same. The case law on this subject is very clear and because the agreement my client entered into did not specifically state that spousal support was not subject to termination upon her remarriage, her right to the agreed-upon spousal support ended the day she remarried.
Before you enter into any agreement regarding spousal support, make sure you seek legal advice from our experienced Virginia divorce attorneys.
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