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Year of separation count toward alimony length?

Herndon, VA |

Based on my research, I may be awarded alimony for 3 years (half length of marriage). Would this be 3 years after the finalized divorce, or 2 years following the divorce if husband is paying alimony during mandatory year separation?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. There is no set time that spousal support must be awarded. Instead, the award of spousal support is based on the Virginia Code Section 20-107.1. This code section includes a number of factors that the judge, or attorneys when attempting to negotiate a settlement, will review. When negotiating a settlement, attorneys generally use half the length of the marriage as a starting point for negotiations. Again, it is not a requirement. The parties must agree on the length of time or one of the parties must file a petition regarding the issue.

    Typically, if the parties reach a settlement they will agree when the support begins or what payments "count" towards the total months support will be paid. If the judge decides the judge can take into consideration the support previously paid both prior to the filing of the divorce action and during the pendency of the divorce. The judge's ruling will reflect the amount of support required and the length of time it should be paid.


  2. There is no set way to calculate the length of spousal support. While many attorneys work off of the half length of the marriage assumption, it is not set in stone.

    Usually the duration starts upon the receipt of the first payment; however, that may not always be the case. It is dependent upon what your agreement is on the duration of payments.

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