Virginia Divorce Law Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce is not easy. Aside from the emotions, with all the laws and procedures involved, you can become overwhelmed. At ShounBach, we understand your situation and want nothing more than to provide you with peace of mind.

Virginia Divorce Law Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions About Divorce

Our firm practices nothing but family law, and as one of the largest family law firms in the state, our attorneys have over 200 years of collective legal experience. As a result, we have a broad range of knowledge, training, and experience, which allows us to quickly and thoroughly answer your questions. To begin with, here are a few common questions related to divorce cases. For more details, contact a Northern Virginia divorce lawyer from our firm by calling our offices today.

I know nothing about getting a divorce. What are some important things to know?

First of all, you should know whether or not you have grounds for divorce. In Virginia there are no-fault grounds and fault grounds. No-fault grounds require a six-month separation and signed settlement agreement which resolves all of the issues if no minor are children involved, or a twelve-month separation and a complete, written agreement if minor children are involved.

Fault grounds include adultery, cruelty, and/or desertion or abandonment. You are not eligible to file for divorce until you have grounds for divorce. However, even if you do not have grounds or have not separated for the length of time required, you can still enter a legally binding agreement which resolves all of your divorce issues.

How do I find the right lawyer?

One of the most important steps in divorce is selecting the right lawyer. If you and your spouse are seeking a resolution through mediation or Collaborative law, you will need an attorney who is experienced in mediation or is collaboratively trained.

If you believe you may need a more aggressive approach through divorce litigation, you will want to select an attorney who can thoroughly defend your assets and fight for what is rightfully yours in a persuasive and effective manner. Click here for more answers relating to selecting the right lawyer.

What should I expect in a divorce case?

Everyone has their own idea of common divorce scenarios. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot necessarily throw your spouse or their personal items out of the home, and you may be liable for your actions if you do. You should also be very careful how you obtain information from your spouse in a divorce case, particularly through electronic means.

I depend on my spouse for income! What do I do?

You may be eligible to receive spousal support, which would require your spouse or former spouse to pay you a certain amount of money per month, either for a limited amount of time or indefinitely, depending on certain factors. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a lump sum of spousal support. This support is meant to provide for or contribute to your monthly expenses or to allow you to complete any schooling or training, so that you can become self-supporting. Click here for more answers relating to spousal support.

How do I protect my children in a divorce?

Divorce can be a very difficult experience for children. One of the best ways you can protect them in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is to retain counsel who will proceed in a manner that is in the children’s best interest. Child support is generally determined by a state-wide child support guideline, and is primarily calculated based on the parents’ incomes.

How do I keep my access to my child?

One of the most difficult areas of divorce is child custody and visitation rights. Our firm prefers to identify these issues as parental responsibilities. Parental responsibilities are composed of decision making and parenting time. The main goal is ensuring that you will always be involved in a meaningful way in your child’s life. Click here for more answers relating to child custody and visitation.

How do I find out about my spouse’s assets?

Sometimes, it is difficult for a spouse to identify all of the assets that may be subject to valuation and division. A lawyer can seek out this information using the “discovery” process.

Your lawyer has a number of tools in that process. For example, your lawyer can file Interrogatories, which are formal written questions that your spouse must answer in writing under oath.

Your lawyer can also file Requests for Production of Documents (seeking the production of necessary documents) and Requests for Admissions (seeking admissions as to certain facts of your case).

Additionally, your lawyer can file subpoenas to require third-parties to produce documents or appear to be question during a deposition. Your lawyer can also depose your spouse.

How is the date of separation determined?

The date of separation is determined by the date either party separates from the other with the intent and for the purpose of obtaining a divorce. Often, that date coincides with the date one spouse vacates the marital home. However, one party may be able to arrange an in-house separation, provided they make certain efforts to live separate and apart within that home.

How long do I have to live in Virginia before I can file a divorce action?

To file for divorce either you or your spouse must be a resident and domiciliary of the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the Complaint. However, you may be able to resolve all your divorce issues before you file for divorce.

What are the grounds for divorce in Virginia?

Virginia recognizes a number of grounds for divorce. The “no fault” grounds and “fault grounds.”

There are two “no fault” grounds for divorce: (i) a six-month separation and signed property settlement agreement where the parties have no minor children; or (ii) a twelve months separation where the parties have minor children.

There are three “fault” grounds for divorce: (i) adultery; (ii) cruelty; and (iii) desertion/abandonment.

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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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