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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Keep these tips in mind, if divorce is on the horizon

The winter holidays are behind us, and for couples in Virginia whose marriage was already strained, the holidays may have been a time of stress, disagreements and disappointment. Some may have hoped that they could reconcile over the holidays, but this is not always possible. Others may have wanted to have "one last" holiday season as a couple, especially if they have children. Whatever the reason, once the holidays are over and the New Year begins, some couples will start to think about ending their marriage. When this happens, there are some steps a person can take to prepare for divorce.

First, it can help to have all of one's financial documents in order. Such documents may include one's 2017 paystubs, 2017 tax return, credit card statements and bank account information. This can help an attorney provide an assessment regarding the financial aspects of divorce, such as property division, spousal support and child support.

We assist clients with property division in a divorce

In addition to issues such as child custody, child support and alimony, Virginians seeking a divorce will have to reach an agreement on how to fairly divide their assets. Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning that their marital property will be divided based on what the judge deems is fair. Sometimes a couple's assets are split relatively equally in the property division process, but it is not a rule in equitable distribution states, where an uneven split of property may be ordered if that is deemed to be fair and equitable.

There are many types of marital assets that may be subject to the property division process. They include, of course, the family home, furniture, electronics, automobiles and other tangible assets. However, retirement accounts, stocks, investments, business property and other intangible but still very valuable assets may also be subject to property division in Virginia.

Divorce and remarriage can lead to complex family relationships

Many divorcees ultimately remarry, creating a blended family. In a blended family, there will be stepmothers, stepfathers, stepchildren and half-siblings, among other relations. Now, researchers are exploring how this will affect the function of these families in the United States.

According to one survey, nearly one-third respondents who were head of their household and is under age 55, had one or more stepparents. And, of married spouses older than 55 who also have grown children, 33 percent of these couples are stepparents.

Tips for preventing international child abduction

If you share a child with someone who hails from another country and the relationship between the two of you has become acrimonious, you may have justifiable concerns about your child’s other parent. More specifically, you may have fears about your ex attempting to abduct your son or daughter and return to his or her country of origin, which can raise a wealth of problems.

International child abductions can prove highly complicated, and associated problems can include everything from not being able to find your child to not knowing how to navigate international court systems while you pursue his or her safe return. There are, however, some steps you can take prematurely if you suspect that your child’s other parent may wish to relocate the child to another nation. These steps include:

When might collaborative law be appropriate in a divorce?

Does getting a divorce in Virginia always mean the two spouses have to duke it out in court? Not necessarily. Sometimes, couples prefer to work out their issues out of court. Doing so may save them time, money and stress. Therefore, in addition to litigation, couples seeking a divorce may also want to consider either mediating their divorce or utilizing collaborative law to reach a resolution on their divorce issues.

How do these three processes differ? Litigation means the spouses will go before a judge, present their case, and the judge will make the final decisions on their divorce issues. In mediation, a neutral mediator will help the two spouses reach a resolution on their divorce issues out of court by facilitating communication between the spouses and providing them with relevant information (although it is not to be considered legal advice). In a collaborative divorce, each spouse will have an attorney. All four parties will convene to negotiate their divorce legal issues with the assistance of other professionals. The spouses and their attorneys agree in a collaborative divorce that they will work together to reach a resolution. If that fails and the parties must litigate, they must do so with new attorneys.

Keeping the holidays magical after divorce

The winter holidays are upon us. It is a time for family traditions, cherished memories and giving to others. Most parents want their children to have a magical holiday season, so if this is their first (or second, or third) holiday season post-divorce, they may be concerned about how their child is going to handle it. The following are some tips for Virginia parents who find themselves in this situation.

First, keep in mind that little eyes are always watching. Children will pick up on the cues of their parents. Therefore, parents should not put down their ex, or lament that the holidays will not be the same. By keeping a positive attitude and working to cooperate with your ex, children will see their parents willing to work together even after a divorce to make the holidays happy.

How will a court determine the best interests of the child?

When a child's parents divorce, transitioning from being part of a couple to being single presents certain challenges. However, no matter how they are handling the split personally, parents should make sure that their child's physical, mental and emotional needs are still being met. For this reason, when courts in Virginia make child custody decisions, the standard they use is the best interests of the child. To determine what a child's best interests are, the court will take into account certain factors.

The court might consider the child's age and health, along with the child's future development. The age and health of each parent may also be considered. Each parent's current relationship with the child may be considered with regard to how the parent is involved in the child's life in a positive manner, and whether the parent is able to assess and meet the child's needs physically, intellectually and emotionally.

What factors will a Virginia court consider in property division?

Married couples in Virginia spend years or even decades accumulating property. They may have purchased a home, furniture, electronics, artwork, automobiles, stocks and more. Of course, not every union is meant to last, meaning that some couples may eventually face the prospect of divorce. That being said, spouses may not be so keen to let go of the property they spent so much time and money accumulating.

Nevertheless, one part of getting a divorce is property division. Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state when it comes to property division, meaning that assets (and debts) obtained during the marriage will be divided in a manner that the court deems to be fair, even if this is not an even 50/50 split. When making property division decisions, the court will consider a number of factors.

What to know about military divorces

The military lifestyle can be challenging for couples, especially when faced with long periods apart during deployments and the high stress level of a military job. When these stressors lead to conflict that becomes impossible to resolve and a couple with one or both spouses in the military decides to divorce, there are some factors that are different than a civilian divorce.

It is important to know what specific things to be especially aware of if you experience a military divorce so that you can adequately prepare. Your divorce lawyer can help you navigate the particular hurdles that make military divorces unique. Here are a few pointers to discuss with your attorney regarding your individual situation.

What to know about gray divorce

If you are among the rising number of people going through a divorce later in life, it is important to recognize that there are important considerations involved in doing so. According to U.S. News & World Report, the number of couples going through a divorce after age 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010, and often, these couples have issues they need to work through that differ from those faced by couples who divorce at earlier ages.

If you are ending your marriage after age 50, know that:

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Maddox & Gerock, P.C.
8111 Gatehouse Road
Suite 410
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: 703-883-8035
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