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Arlington Divorce Lawyer

Divorce cases can be messy and cause a great deal of pain for your entire family, especially when they involve children or complex assets to divide. Even uncontested divorces, where the spouses are in total agreement, can stretch on for a long time and be emotionally challenging. If you have children or assets you want to maintain custody of or protect, it is critical to have a divorce attorney in your corner who knows how the law works, and who knows how to navigate the contentious waters of family law in a contested divorce. The divorce lawyers in Arlington, VA at ShounBach have years of experience in these cases, and we are ready to fight for you.

What Happens in a Divorce for Arlington, Virginia Residents?

Virginia divorce law is very specific about the requirements to obtain a dissolution of a marriage. The divorce process in Arlington and across the state of Virginia require either marital fault or a separation first. To proceed with a divorce based on separation, the couple must not have marital relations for at least twelve months, though they can live under the same roof in some circumstances. If they have no minor children and have a written settlement agreement signed by both parties, they can proceed with the divorce after six months.

Following the separation, one party must file a Complaint for Divorce with the circuit court in their local jurisdiction. If both parties agree, the divorce can often be finalized quickly. If either party disagrees, however, the divorce becomes contested. Contested divorces usually last longer; in some cases, the case can last years.

How Do Contested and Uncontested Divorce Differ in Arlington, Virginia?

Contested and uncontested divorces are very different. Uncontested divorce is where the parties are in agreement as to the issues arising out of their marriage.  One way that an agreemetn can be reached is by a collaborative divorce and use of collaborative law. Uncontested divorces are the smoothest, fastest, and generally most agreeable form of divorce. In order for an uncontested divorce to proceed, both parties must be in complete agreement on every single aspect of the split. This means everything has to be clearly spelled out, from legal issues regarding the division of property like real estate, businesses, and other valuables, to full agreement on child custody and visitation issues.

If either party in the couple disagrees on any aspect of the divorce, no matter how small, the split becomes contested under family law. These divorces can be quite contentious and damage your relationship; the longer they go on, the harsher they tend to be.

If abuse is involved, the divorce can proceed on fault-based grounds, which can have an impact on issues of custody and property division. This is why it can be so important to have an Arlington divorce lawyer in your corner to represent your interests, protect your rights, and provide the legal services you need.

How Is Property Division Handled in an Arlington, Virginia, Divorce?

Virginia family law uses what is called an equitable distribution system for the division of assets. This system involves dividing the entire marital estate, including all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. If, however, one spouse acquired a separate debt during the marriage, the court may order that spouse to pay it. If the couple secured debt doing major home renovations, for example, they will still share that debt. If, on the other hand, one member of the couple purchased a large item that only they used and incurred a debt, the court may order that person to pay the debt.

One key to remember is that “equitable distribution” does not always mean “equal distribution.”  When a contested case is presented to a judge as part of a divorce case, the judge can divide the property how he or she sees fit, taking into account a list of factors set forth in the Code of Virginia.  The judge is not required to divide the marital estate equally, just equitably.  

When dealing with issues like alimony and spousal support, the courts will consider a wide range of factors including any incomes from both spouses, the level of contribution each spouse made to the marriage including both financial and non-financial aspects, the employability of each spouse, the cost of training for a lesser employable spouse to become employable, the standard of living, and many other factors. Issues of child custody and visitation are made based on the child’s best interests above and beyond all else.

How Will Hiring VA Divorce Lawyers Benefit Me in an Arlington Divorce?

Especially if you are entering into a contested divorce, it is vital that you have legal services in your corner who know the law and know how to protect your rights. Family law attorneys are focused in these areas and seek education in this form of law while in their school of law program. The best way to protect yourself is to have an attorney who focuses their practice on family law.  There are many nuances in the law that your attorney must know.  The law office of ShounBach is more than just another large firm; we are focused on family law and estate planning. That’s it. We are ready to stand up for you, protect your rights, and fight to make sure that the equitable distribution of assets is indeed equitable. Get in touch with us by calling 703-222-3333 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation.

Getting a Divorce Is Different For Everyone. Let Us Help Make a Difference

At ShounBach, our law firm has represented clients across the great state of Virginia and Washington, D.C., from Vienna to Alexandria, across northern Virginia, Fairfax, Leesburg, Falls Church, Manassas, and here in Arlington County. Our practice areas include all areas of family law from child custody to military divorce, prenuptial agreements  to alimony and spousal support, property division, and more. We have been listed among state Super Lawyers, and our attorneys have graduated from some of the most prestigious schools of law in the nation.

Though we are one of Virginia’s largest family law firms, we’re not a faceless PLLC that will treat you like a number to rush through; we care deeply about our clients and will always provide the personal attention and legal representation you need when you need it. If you are facing a contested or uncontested divorce and you want to secure an equitable distribution of property as well as fair child support and custody, contact our office today to learn more about how we can make your divorce as seamless as possible.

Don’t Navigate This Process Alone

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4000 Legato Road, Suite 400
Fairfax, VA 22033

Loudoun Office

107 E. Market Street,
Leesburg, VA 20176

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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