Virginia Spousal Support – The Evolving Meanings of Cohabitation and Relationship Analogous to a Marriage

Virginia Code § 20-109(A) was amended in 1997 to include language terminating spousal support upon “clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving support has been habitually cohabiting with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more commencing on or after July 1, 1997, the court shall terminate spousal support and maintenance unless (i) otherwise provided by stipulation or contract or (ii) the spouse receiving support proves by a preponderance of the evidence that termination of such support would be unconscionable.”

So what’s “cohabiting”?  And what is a “relationship analogous to a marriage”?  Can two members of the same sex “cohabitate” in Virginia?  Can they be in a “relationship analogous to a marriage”? Continue reading

Virginia Spousal Support: Some Clarity on Termination Provisions in Agreements

Assume the existence of a marital agreement that provides that spousal support shall terminate forever upon the happening of a terminating event, like a cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex for a week or more.  Assume that this agreement was incorporated into a divorce order years ago.  What happens when the former wife does in fact cohabit with a member of the opposing sex for more than a week?  Can the husband just stop paying her?  Must he continue to pay her spousal support until such time as the court enters an order stating that her support terminated forever due to her cohabitation? Continue reading

Virginia Equitable Distribution: Courts Aren’t Stupid

Assume an agreement states: “The parties shall apply any and all remaining proceeds from the sale of the Dey Street [P]roperties toward the principal balance of the mortgage obligations on Shady Oaks . . . If the mortgages are satisfied prior to the sell [sic] of Shady Oaks, the parties will divide equally any and all proceeds from the sale of Dey Street [P]roperties.”  Assume that Shady Oaks properties were sold to pay off their mortgages.  Assume that the Dey Street Properties are sold thereafter.  What should happen to the Dey Street proceeds? Continue reading