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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

What is collaborative law and how does it relate to divorce?

A traditional divorce happens in a courtroom. Readers of this Virginia-based family law blog may know others or may themselves have had the experience of sitting across from their exes and working with a judge and their attorneys to resolve their divorce-related matters.

When divorces are litigated, it is often left up to the judges to make the final determinations of just how the parties' conflicts should be worked out.

How does the property division process work in Virginia?

The division of property can be a source of contention in any divorce. After all, many married couples have spent years if not decades accumulating assets. Some of these assets have a great deal of financial value, but even certain cherished pieces of property have just as important sentimental value. For these reasons, couples going through a divorce can have a difficult time with the property division process.

While many times it is preferable for couples to negotiate property division out-of-court, that is not always possible. If a couple must turn to the court to issue a ruling on property division, the court in Virginia will follow the laws of equitable distribution.

Parallel parenting may be an option in high-conflict divorces

Not every divorce in Virginia ends amicably. However, when parents are undergoing a high-conflict divorce, they will have to face the reality that they will have to continue to work together, at least to some extent, to raise their child even though they are no longer in a relationship with one another.

Co-parenting, where parents share physical custody and legal custody, may be good if the parents can set their differences aside and put their child's needs first. However, there is an option for parents who simply cannot cooperate in that manner: parallel parenting.

How to create a good family care plan after your military divorce

All good parents want to do what's best for their children. For parents in the military, especially those going through a divorce, this can mean taking an important, and sometimes needed, step.

Because deployments can separate parents from their children for a long time, the military encourages service members to create a family care plan ahead of each deployment. If you end up with sole or shared custody of your child or children after a divorce, you will find that setting a plan stops being an option and becomes a requirement.

How does collaborative law compare to mediation in a divorce?

Some people may think that every divorce must end in a courtroom show-down pitting one spouse against the other. However, this does not have to be the case. Many couples in Falls Church settle their divorce out-of-court using alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and collaborative law.

Mediation and collaborative law have some things in common. Both of these strategies aim to help couples reach an agreement on their own and avoid litigation. They are often cheaper and less time-consuming than litigation as well. In both mediation and collaborative divorce, each party can retain an attorney. Both mediation and collaborative divorce are confidential. And, couples who settle their divorce out-of-court may be more satisfied in the outcome, as they had a say in reaching it.

Hiding assets in the property division process is never wise

We'd like to think that in the age of conscious uncoupling that all divorcing couples in Virginia amicably part ways. Unfortunately, emotions can run high in a divorce, causing people to make poor decisions. For example, one spouse might want to try to hide assets from the other spouse to keep those assets out of the marital estate. In other words, the hidden assets would not be subject to property division and the spouse hiding the assets can keep them for himself or herself. This is never a good idea.

First, it is illegal to hide assets in a divorce. The parties to a divorce have an obligation to make all assets and liabilities are known during the property division process. This way both parties can have a full understanding of the contents of their marital estate, so they can divide their assets in a fair and appropriate manner.

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.

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