Realizing that your marriage may end in divorce is one of the most stressful and emotionally draining events that you will encounter. You will face new challenges and decisions almost immediately, and it may be difficult to fully anticipate and plan for all of the issues that will arise when you enter this new phase of your life. You will need guidance, direction, and counseling from those experienced in the complexities and intricacies of your new situation.
Our philosophy at 7 Cities Law is always to do what is in the best interest of our clients, explaining every step of the process along the way. We will work to bring your case to an amicable resolution, but we will be ready to battle it out in court if that is what fairness demands.
First, it is important to determine whether your divorce qualifies as a “fault” divorce or whether to proceed with a “no-fault” divorce. No fault divorces involve no misconduct by either person and what is eventually a mutual parting of ways, while fault divorces involve alleged wrongdoing on the part of one spouse. Divorces based on fault can be filed immediately, although it will most likely take a year before they become finalized. In fault divorces, the parties are able to go to court right away to temporarily address such things as child support, spousal support, child custody, possession of the home, health insurance, and life insurance. Grounds for a fault divorce include: (1) willful desertion and abandonment; (2) cruelty or reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; or (3) adultery.
A no-fault divorce is much less complex and generally less expensive. It does, however, require the cooperation of both sides to allow for a smooth transition. This type of divorce merely requires that the parties live separate and apart for 12 months if there are children of the marriage or 6 months if there are no children of the marriage. Most often in these types of divorces, the parties enter into a mutual agreement that addresses issues of child support, spousal support, child custody, and distribution of marital assets.
Here is the first step.
CHILD CUSTODY + VISITATION
Child custody can take several forms:
- Sole Custody – This means that one person retains responsibility for the care and control of the child and has the authority to make decisions concerning the child.
- Joint Custody – Parents often share “joint legal custody” of the child such that both parents have a say in making decisions concerning what is best for their child. There can also be “joint physical custody” where both parents share physical custody of their child. Often, one parent is given physical custody while the other parent is given visitation rights that may include weekends and holidays or any other reasonable arrangement. Often attorneys encourage the parties to work out their own agreement in this area and reach a solution that works for all involved.
We will help you in an emotionally charged time make reasoned and logical decisions in this area and will zealously advocate on your behalf. We understand that there is nothing more precious than the relationship between a parent and child.
We are here to help.
The Virginia Code provides a table with calculations as to how much child support should be paid based upon the number of children and the relative gross income of the parties. These calculations however are just a starting point, and the court may alter the amount based on a number of factors.
It’s time to get started.
Spousal support, sometimes known as alimony, is not automatically part of a divorce agreement. The court will consider the circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage as well as a variety of other factors including (but not limited to):
- The obligations, needs and financial resources of each of the parties;
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- Any special requirements that make it impractical for a party to seek employment outside of the home (e.g. a sick child in need of full-time care);
- The earning capacity of each spouse and whether any spouse sacrificed that earning capacity during the marriage;
- The opportunity and ability for a spouse to receive education and training to assist them in returning to the workplace;
The issues of support are difficult to navigate. Parents want to ensure financial support for their children, but also must confront the economic hardship that comes with one parent starting over and establishing a new residence.
We will help you in evaluating the child and spousal support issues in your case, and we will make every effort to ensure you are treated fairly.