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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Support issues are important in any Virginia divorce

Child support and spousal support can be some of the most important concerns couples will address during their divorce. Fortunately, the family law process provides resources to resolve those concerns which is why it can be helpful for parents to understand how the family law system addresses their important spousal and child support concerns.

In Virginia, parents have a legal duty to support their children. Virginia now uses child support guidelines that are set out in statute to determine the amount of child support parents are required to pay. Payment obligations now take into account each party's gross income when determining required payment amounts. The court may also consider reasons why the child support guidelines should be deviated from. A formula is used to determine child support that considers income from all sources so it is helpful for divorcing couples to be familiar with the income sources that will be considered.

The positive changes that can come from divorce

Divorce generally signals a dark time in a person’s life. Many people who are facing the end of a marriage feel as if their life is over, that they are a failure, or that they will never find love again. With all the negativity that divorce gets, there are many who feel as if divorce liberates them. They no longer are chained to a difficult marriage and they are free to be themselves.

With that, there are a number of positives that come out of divorce. This post will highlight a few.

The benefits of collaborative law divorce and how it works

This blog recently discussed the benefits of mediation during divorce. Another optionfor divorcing couples to consider to achieve a more amicable divorce is collaborative law divorce. Divorce may cause couples to anticipate bad things and fighting and they may feel nervous or overwhelmed by the process but collaborative law divorce is a process that seeks to minimize negativity and acrimony sometimes associated with the divorce process.

Collaborative law divorce is a process that may help minimize the negatives that are sometimes associated with divorce, as it seeks to avoid disputes before they even arise by providing a shared solution-oriented option to the divorce process. At the outset of the collaborative law process, the couple signs a contract and pledges to negotiate in good faith to resolve divorce-related concerns. The couple agrees to be fair and transparent when sharing financial information and other documents. If the couple decides to litigate their divorce, their representatives withdraw according to the contract.

Can mediation make the divorce process easier?

Every family confronting a divorce has to resolve a number of issues. Many couples have substantial disagreements that prevent them from simply drawing up a neat divorce agreement.

Divorce mediation can present a good option for couples in a Virginia divorce who do not want to head straight into litigation, which can be stressful and expensive. While mediation may not work for everyone, it can offer several advantages. Speaking with your attorney can help you figure out whether mediation would make sense for your situation.

May Updates in the Law

A trial court may average a party's fluctuating income when determining a child support obligation, but only after calculating child support based on the party's current income.

Tidwell v. Late, 2017 Va. App. LEXIS 137, 799 S.E.2d 696, 2017 WL 2332824 (Va. Ct. App. May 30, 2017)

A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge heard a Father's Petition to Modify Child Support based on his position that there had been a material change in childcare costs and in income since their divorce decree, two years prior. The trial court found that there was a material change in income. However, when calculating the Father's new child support obligation, pursuant to Virginia Code section 20-108.2, the judge erred in calculating the Father's income, which was then reversed by the Court of Appeals.

Divorce and Your Pets

If you are considering a divorce and one of your top priorities is your pet, you are not alone. One report  shows that 27% of family lawyers surveyed have seen an increase in couples fighting for custody of their beloved pets. However, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, "in the eyes of the law, ...[pets]... are really no different than the silverware, the cars, [and] the home". In other words, the ownership of pets are determined by most courts like any other physical property.

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