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As a result, some parties were signing agreements with the intent that they would have the ability to modify the spousal support award, but instead, would later discover that because the possibility of modification was not addressed in the separation agreement, then nothing could be done by the courts despite there having been a material change in circumstances.
Beginning on July 1, 2018, if a separation agreement does not affirmatively state whether the spousal support award is meant to be permanent, or in other words non-modifiable, then the presumption will be that the spousal support award will always be modifiable based upon a material change in circumstances.
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The Legal Aid Justice Center has been providing legal representation for low-income individuals in Virginia since 1967.
The General Assembly has also clarified the law as to whether the payor spouse’s retirement constitutes the type of “material change of circumstances” necessary to allow for modification of a spousal support award.
In the past, the case law was inconsistent as to whether a payor spouse’s voluntary retirement constitutes a material change of circumstances for these purposes.
This new legislation, which applies only to agreements executed on or after July 1, 2018, should help to address and minimize any confusion as to the intent of the parties when it comes to modification of spousal support.
The General Assembly in this last session deviated substantially from established practices in Virginia when it comes to modification of spousal support.
If you are the payor or payee in an existing spousal support order, or potential upcoming order, be sure to consult with an experienced family lawyer to determine how the changes might affect your case. C., have extensive experience with spousal support cases of all types, including modification of support.
We have the experience and courtroom power to advocate effectively.
As one of the largest law firms dedicated solely to family law in Virginia, we are here for you.