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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Handling IRAs during divorce property division

In Virginia and across the country, the divorce rate is declining. However, there is one significant exception: Couples age 50 and up are actually more likely to divorce than they were in the past. This is important not only because it reflects changing social norms but also because of the financial effects of the end of a marriage. When people divorce later in life, they have fewer years to recover from the blow of property division. In many cases, retirement accounts are some of the largest assets held by the couple.

In addition to negotiating a fair settlement in the property division process, splitting retirement accounts comes with its own complexities. In most cases, retirement accounts are marital assets regardless of whose name is on the fund; both spouses may have assets subject to division, or the entire account may be held in one person's name. When dividing an employment-based account like a pension plan or 401(k), specific rules must be followed. These qualified plans require a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO, a specialized court order directing specifically how the distribution is to take place.

Divorce filings spike after the holiday season

The holidays are usually a time of year when families set aside their differences and come together to celebrate whatever is most important to them. As a result, the season is usually full of fun and cheer. However, many Virginians struggle through the holidays because they feel trapped in bad marriages. Even those who want to seek a divorce often choose to put off the action during this time of year so as not to disrupt family dynamics and seemingly ruin what would otherwise be a festive period of time.

In fact, putting off divorce until January is a common tactic taken by individuals, and it has led to January being dubbed "Divorce Month" by some family law experts. One need only look at online search frequencies and social media topics to see that interest in divorce spikes in late December and early January.

Timberlake's marriage illustrates importance of lifestyle clauses

If you follow celebrity news at all then you know that the marriage between famed singer Justin Timberlake and actress Jessica Biel may be on the rocks. Reports indicate that Timberlake was recently seen at a bar with a co-star of an upcoming film, with the two of them apparently holding hands and otherwise acting as if they are in some sort of romantic relationship.

Even for those who don't follow celebrity news, the story serves as an illustration of the importance of a prenuptial agreement because Timberlake's actions, if indeed classified as infidelity, could be costly.

How parental substance abuse can affect child custody

Although child custody disputes that play out in court are meant to find an arrangement that supports the best interests of the children involved, oftentimes they devolve into presentations meant to cast the other parent in as unfavorable of a light as possible.

The two issues are not completely separate, though. Parents may have to point out the other parent's faults, if only to highlight how a proposed custody and visitation plan is not in the child's best interests.

Virtual visitation as an option for Virginia families

People are incredibly busy. Individuals who balance jobs, families, and other important commitments are often juggling many different responsibilities at once and working hard to keep the needs of themselves and others met.

When a person goes through the difficult process of divorce, their lives may become even more complicated if they must work around the child custody and visitation schedules of their kids. Although there are no greater responsibilities than those that a parent has to their child, staying connected to one's child during and after a divorce can be a challenge.

A new family law trend: Strategic divorce

Divorce is a serious legal topic that has significant ramifications on the legal, financial, and emotional lives of Virginia residents. Before deciding to pursue divorce, readers are encouraged to seek their own legal advice so that they fully understand the requirements and possible outcomes of their own proceedings. This post and all others contained on this blog should not be used as a substitute for independent legal counsel.

When marriages end there are usually reasons that the partners can point to that offer rationales for the relationships' demises. While fault grounds like adultery, incarceration, and abandonment may push individuals to end their marriages, insurmountable differences and changes in partners may also instigate divorce proceedings. However, a new trend in divorce is emerging that is not necessarily based in these common themes.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

The process of planning a wedding can be both exciting and stressful for a Virginia couple. There are many decisions that they must make about when their event will take place, where it will occur, who will be invited to attend, and what level of formality they would like to have. Many may also consider whether they want to sign a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract between two individuals who plan to get married but who have not yet done so. Through a premarital agreement, the individuals may establish important financial and property-based ground rules that will control if they eventually choose to divorce. Though prenuptial agreements are not particularly romantic, they can take a lot of stress and confusion out of divorces if they are created prior to couples' wedding days.

Does a person need an attorney for a collaborative divorce?

Divorce is a complicated legal process that terminates the legal bond between two married people. When a divorce is complete the partners to a legal marriage are no longer linked under the law and are free to marry other individuals. In Virginia, residents have options for how they can pursue divorce to end their marriages.

Some people choose to use the courts and the litigation process to get divorced. This is the traditional path to divorce and involves the parties, their attorneys, and a judge. Litigated divorces tend to put the decision-making power in the hands of judges who have the final say on how divorce orders are drafted. While individuals can offer their own opinions to the courts and advocate for what they think is best, final decision-making power generally resides in the judges.

Child support in Virginia

Child support is an important obligation that both of a child's parents must maintain after they go through a divorce, separation, or end to a non-marital relationship. The Commonwealth uses a set of complex guidelines to decide how much money each parent should pay in order to provide for their child, and based upon the incomes of the parents and other factors different families may end up with different child support orders. As such, readers should seek their own legal advice on their unique child support questions as this post offers general information only.

Child support can be used for a number of child-rearing costs. Basic needs' costs like food, shelter, and clothing may be covered with child support money, as can educational costs, healthcare costs, and childcare costs. Child support may be used in some cases for travel expenses, extracurricular activities, and other child-related needs.

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Falls Church, VA 22042
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