If I have recently been laid off from work for up to 3 months, am I still obligated to pay my $1,000 a month spousal support?

With unemployment benefits being so low, am I still obligated to pay spousal support when I have a mortgage, car payment and other family responsibilities? It is a divorce decree that stemmed from a separation agreement I signed in distress about 10 years ago. Can I just pay what I can and make up the rest once I get back to work?

Asked on September 11, 2012 under Family Law, Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is my understanding that the laws in Virginia are complex when it comes to this issue but that generally speaking a petiton to modify spousal support payments can be filed under various scarious set forth under Virginia Code section 20-109.  However, the ability to change your existing spousal support may also depend on whether this was permitted by the terms included in your original agreement.  A loss of income is considered a change of circumstances under the Virginia law that would give rise to your being able to file the petition. But also check section 20-107.1 of the Code.  Good luck. 

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