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Wife is filing a Motion for Spousal support Maintenance even though an mount was agreed upon in a PSA and separation agreement.

Fairfax, VA |

I have a PSA states that
"Husband agrees to pay spousal support to wife in the amount of $x/month for a period 30 month and spousal support is modifiable by wife as to amount and or duration based on a circumstance change up to 3 years from the commencement of the payment";
Moreover, the PSA states "Husband hereby waves and releases any right he may have against wife for support and maintenance, spousal support or alimony both now and in the future".

My wife already filed a motion for maintenance, what are her chances to be able to change the amount I have to pay her, if the amount does change, it is going to be capped by the VA alimony guidelines based on my income. Also, can she use the statements above in the PSA against me in the future and request alimony for life?

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Attorney answers 2


Since the PSA states that the amount is modifiable, she could be awarded a different amount based upon proof of changed circumstances.
There is no "cap" on final divorce support awards.
She is bound by the PSA as to the duration of the support.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only. For specific information regarding your case, call my office at 757-533-5400 to schedule a consultation.

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson


Terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement will control the ultimate outcome. With sees all terms set forth in the MSA, it is difficult, if not impossible to respond to you query. However, as Mary notes, the duration of support will be fixed by the terms of the Agreement.

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson


Please note correction to the above comment: "without seeing" all terms...


Unless the PSA is set aside by the court (for example, if one of the parties objects to the agreement based on fraud, duress, or one of the other limited grounds upon which a PSA may be challenged in VA), then the court MUST follow the contract terms for spousal support as set forth in the PSA (see VA Code Section 20-109, subsection C in particular). Accordingly, the answer to your questions lies in the specific wording of your PSA, taken as a whole. It would be imprudent to attempt to interpret particular sentences in isolation, as there very well may be other provisions elsewhere in your PSA that effect the support provisions that you have recounted here.

So, my suggestion would be to take your PSA to a lawyer for an appropriate professional review and advice. I would certainly encourage you to seriously consider retaining an attorney to represent you at the support hearing.

One additional note: There are no " alimony guidelines" in Virginia. Some counties, like Fairfax, have a formula that they use for setting TEMPORARY (known as pendente lite) support. However, this is limited to support paid to the CURRENT spouse while the case is pending. Upon divorce, whether there is an award of alimony/spousal support to the now former spouse or not, how much, and for how long, is determined in accordance with all of the factors set forth in VA Code Section 20-107.1...(or by agreement of the parties).

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.

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