Issues involving the family are highly emotional and stressful. Our attorneys understand the emotional impact on our clients while remaining objective and practical in meeting the needs of our clients. Family law cases have many different aspects, including financial obligations, tax consequences, business valuation, and long-term interests of any children. We will address the different issues of your case with sensitivity and urgency in order to fulfill your needs and achieve your goals in a timely and cost-efficient way.
Have an experienced attorney by your side to help you through this stressful period. We will go through your options with you and advise you as to which is best for you and your situation. Each case is different, and each client has different needs and goals. We listen to our clients to fully understand their situation and take the time to explain the process and each stage in order to minimize confusion and frustration. We prepare to aggressively litigate on your behalf but value negotiations and settlement as alternative dispute resolution often is in the best interests of all parties involved.
Unfortunately, not all marriages last forever. When a couple decides to divorce, it can be an extremely difficult process. Not only are there financial and property issues to resolve, but the emotional stress of ending a marriage can be a lot to handle. The process of obtaining a divorce may not be as simple as you may think and may present challenges to all parties involved.
In Virginia, a divorce may be granted on either fault or no-fault grounds. Fault means that one party committed a wrongdoing, such as adultery, desertion, cruelty, or a felony conviction with confinement for more than one year, that brought about the divorce. A fault divorce can be granted immediately. No fault means that neither party is to blame legally for the divorce. However, in order to obtain a no-fault divorce, a couple must be separated for a certain period of time before they can get a divorce. This period of time will depend on whether the couple have any children together and whether there is a separation agreement.
Our attorneys can pursue equitable distribution or a monetary award on behalf of a client while protecting any separate assets. We work with our clients to determine which assets are marital property and which are separate property. We value real property, personal property, businesses, and any other marital assets, in order to determine what would be a reasonable and fair distribution of marital property for our client.
It is often in our client’s best interest to try to negotiate and settle as this can resolve most, if not all, issues between the parties in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Although our attorneys use their experience and knowledge to try to anticipate what would be a judge’s decision, going to trial and having a judge decide on equitable distribution, monetary awards, and other aspects of a divorce may have surprising results.
Even after the divorce is obtained, we are able to enforce court orders if a party fails to comply with the provisions of any court order. If changes occur after an order is entered, we help clients seek modifications to those orders.
Allow our experienced family law attorneys to guide you through the divorce process and to make it as easy for you as we can. We provide personalized attention because we understand that each client is different. We are upfront with our clients as to what they can expect and help them to anticipate and plan for short and long-term consequences of the divorce. We handle the case from start to finish, from the filing of the complaint to the entry of the final decree to the enforcement or modification of any orders.
Child Custody & Visitation
Whether issues arise as part of the divorce or after a divorce is obtained, our attorneys can assist with any issues that come up regarding child custody and visitation. Child custody can be a highly contentious topic with emotions running high on all sides. Our goal is to help each client preserve a relationship with his or her ex-spouse so that they can work together to co-parent their children.
We begin by explaining that the court is required to make its decision based on the best interest of the child and emphasize the preservation of parent-child relationships. We also explain the difference between legal and physical custody to our clients. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, allowing a parent to make decisions related to a child’s health, safety, education, religion, and overall welfare. Judges in Virginia tend to award joint legal custody unless there are extreme circumstances that warrant custody being awarded to one parent. Physical custody relates to the child’s primary residence, as well as the schedule for visitation by the parent with whom the child does not reside. Our attorneys will work with you to pursue an arrangement that makes the most sense for you and your child.
Until a child is emancipated, custody and visitation arrangements can be reviewed and modified. As circumstances change, what may have been agreed upon or ordered by the court may no longer be in the child’s best interest.
Whether it’s negotiating to decide on custody and visitation or modifying an existing agreement or order, our attorneys work with you to reach what works best for you and your child.
Our attorneys use their experience and knowledge to negotiate and litigate child support arrangements, helping clients to accurately convey the needs of their children and determine each parent’s appropriate income. The law requires that a parent provide financial support to his or her minor children. While a custodial parent provides such support directly, a non-custodial parent may be required to make child support payments in order to contribute to paying the costs of raising a child. There are numerous factors that are considered in order to determine what the appropriate amount of financial support should be. Our goal is to help our clients develop plans that will provide their children with the resources and support they need from both parents.
Usually,the state’s statutory child support guidelines determine the amount of child support, taking into consideration the costs of child care, health care coverage, and other expenses. However, deviations to the guidelines may occur when there are exceptions warranting an increase or decrease of child support. These deviations are often seen when there is conflicting income information of one of the parents, usually when that parent is self-employed. It is extremely crucial that child support be determined accurately because it can only be modified upon a material change of circumstances.
Once we have helped our clients establish child support, we are able to enforce child support orders or modify them where material changes impact our client’s or their ex-spouse’s ability to comply with the order. Child support modifications can be based on a parent’s job promotion, sudden unemployment, or a child’s emancipation. As these changes arise, our attorneys are ready to renegotiate the child support arrangements or seek court intervention in order to modify.
Spousal Support / Alimony
Spousal support is offered in different forms. It may be awarded pendente lite, or “pending litigation,” which is temporary and in place during the divorce proceedings only. It may also be awarded on a more permanent basis, either for a specified period of time or without limit as to time. The court considers a number of factors in determining the appropriate amount of spousal support. Our attorneys discuss the factors with our clients to determine a reasonable and appropriate amount of spousal support.
Once spousal support is awarded, we can assist in enforcing or modifying spousal support. We are ready to renegotiate or seek court intervention in order to modify or terminate spousal support.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Our attorneys regularly advise clients on the terms of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Our experience enforcing and defending these agreements in divorce negotiations and at trial provide valuable insight into drafting agreements that will be recognized under the law.
Pre-nuptial agreements often help a couple preserve their marriage while protecting certain individual assets. They do this by setting out each party’s rights and obligations for the marriage before entering into it. The primary purpose of these agreements is usually considered to be the protection of assets. However, they may also encourage early discussions and resolutions between the parties of certain issues before they marry, protect assets for children from other relationships, protect assets from the spouse’s creditors, and minimize conflict during divorce. Our attorneys understand the sensitive nature of drafting such agreements, balancing your desire to protect assets and to protect your relationship and the trust in your future spouse.
We are also experienced in drafting, enforcing, and defending post-nuptial agreements, such as separation agreements and property settlement agreements. Such agreements are signed after the wedding but either before the parties separate or divorce. The terms of these agreements may be similar to pre-nuptial agreements. They may address issues such as spousal and child support, division of property, division of debt, child custody, and other issues which may exist between the parties.
We have open and honest discussion with our clients to understand their needs, desires, and goals in developing these agreements. Throughout the process, our attorneys take the time to explain the provisions and possible consequences so that our clients are aware of what they are protecting, what they may be giving up, and what it means for them, their marriage, and their future.