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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Think carefully about financial decisions in a divorce

Money is an issue in many Virginia divorces. Fighting about finances may be what leads a couple to divorce in the first place.

Because money can be a touchy subject, it is not always easy to look at the financial aspects of divorce, such as property division and spousal support, objectively. However, couples should carefully consider how to handle these divorce legal issues, so they don't make poor decisions that will haunt them for years to come.

Where can service members file for divorce?

When a couple in Virginia seek to end their marriage, at least one of them generally must reside in the Commonwealth for a certain amount of time before they can dissolve their marriage. However, Virginia is home to many service members, some of whom may be on active duty outside the Commonwealth or abroad. How do the residency requirements apply when a service member wishes to divorce?

In general, service members have three options when it comes to which state they can file for divorce in. One option is the state where the spouse filing for divorce resides. Another option is the state where the service member is stationed. Finally, the third option is the state in which the service member claims legal residency. The state in which divorce is filed is the state whose laws regarding divorce legal issues will apply.

Frequent communication can help children when parents divorce

When parents in Virginia divorce, decisions will have to be made about who will have the child in their care and when. While sometimes parents share joint physical custody, other times one parent will have sole physical custody and the other parent will have visitation rights. However, does this mean that the noncustodial parent cannot maintain a meaningful relationship with their child?

One study published in the Journal of Family Issues reports that consistent and frequent communication between a divorced parent and their child was an important component of ensuring that the parent and the child have a meaningful relationship post-divorce. This was the case even if a parent was no longer living with the child and regardless of whether the parents were able to have a cordial relationship with one another.

What types of spousal support may be awarded?

When a couple in Virginia decides to end their marriage, each party may have concerns about their financial future. Virginia courts recognize that sometimes, to preserve equity, it is necessary award spousal support.

Spousal support is meant to make sure each party enjoys a certain standard of living; it is not meant to be punitive. There are several types of spousal support that may be awarded when couples in Virginia divorce.

Legal help can be sought for complex child support issues

Child support is an important issue in a divorce, as it can have a major effect on the well-being of the child. It is important that the child's needs are met, but it is also important that the amount of child support owed is fair to both parents. Virginia has established statutory guidelines dictating how much child support will be owed.

Child support is meant to provide for the child's needs. When issuing a child support order, Virginia courts will consider several factors, including each parent's income and financial resources, child custody arrangements, child care expenses, health insurance expenses and the child's standard of living.

Property division is important to Virginia couples of any means

When couples in Virginia decide to divorce, there are a litany of issues they must resolve. One of these issues is property division. Of course, both sides to a divorce want to keep their fair share of the marital estate. This makes property division a particularly complex endeavor.

Virginia follows the laws of "equitable distribution," when it comes to property division. This means that marital property will be decided on a basis of what is fair, which will not always lead to an exact 50/50 split. Therefore, those seeking a divorce will want to make sure they understand what assets are important to them and which ones they are willing to let go of.

How to answer the tough questions kids ask during divorce

Whether you've yet to break the news of your divorce or you've been divorced for some time now, your kids are likely to present you with some challenging questions about it.

If you're not quite sure how to go about answering them, here are a few helpful approaches you can take to the most common questions.

What can be included in a prenup in Virginia?

Now is the time of year for couples in Virginia who got engaged over the holidays to start planning for their upcoming nuptials. It can be easy for couples to become wrapped up in wedding details. However, one detail that they should consider in light of their upcoming marriage is executing a prenuptial agreement (called a premarital agreement under Virginia law).

A prenup is essentially a contract between the prospective spouses that takes effect once the couple is married. Prenups can address many financial issues the couple will face while married. For example, it can outline what rights and obligations each spouse has with regards to both marital and separate assets. This can include the right to purchase, sell, use, dispose of or in any other way manage and control an asset.

Collaborative divorce may be an option for some Virginians

Some Virginians seeking a divorce may have a lot of animosity towards one another and may feel that they have no choice but to have their divorce legal issues settled by a judge in court. However, others may wonder if there is a less adversarial way to end their marriage. In the age of "conscious uncoupling," some people in Virginia seeking a divorce may be interested in learning more about how collaborative law can be used to settle their divorce.

In the collaborative divorce process, each party will retain their own attorney. The parties and their attorneys will all agree in writing to settle their divorce through out-of-court negotiations, with the goal of creating a settlement agreement that can then be approved by the court. To show their commitment to the process, if the parties cannot agree on all their divorce legal issues and some or all of them must be settled by the court, the parties' attorneys will bow out of the case and the parties will have to retain new attorneys to litigate their divorce.

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