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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

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.

How can a marital agreement help Virginia couples?

While some couples in Virginia enter into prenuptial agreements (referred to as premarital agreements in Virginia law), other couples may not take this step before walking down the aisle. However, sometimes circumstances arise in which the couple wishes they had executed a prenup prior to marriage. Fortunately, couples in such situations may be able to form a postnuptial agreement (referred to as a marital agreement in Virginia law).

Postnuptial agreements can address many of the same topics a prenuptial agreement can cover, such as property division and spousal support in the event of a divorce. If a party was coerced into entering a postnuptial agreement, if a party did not make a full disclosure of assets to the other party or if the agreement is unconscionable, then it may not be enforced. Postnuptial agreements in Virginia take effect as soon as they are executed.

Collaborative law may help those in a low-conflict divorce

Sometimes couples in Virginia have so much bitterness and rancor towards one another that they have no other choice but to litigate their divorce. However, couples going through a relatively amicable split may have options other than litigation to settle their divorce legal issues. One of these options is collaborative law.

Like litigation, in a collaborative divorce, both parties are represented by attorneys. However, the parties and their attorneys make an agreement that they will all work together to resolve their divorce legal issues. Other experts, such as accountants and therapists, can be consulted in the collaborative divorce process.

Are Virginia's statutory child support guidelines rebuttable?

Virginia law has statutory guidelines regarding how much child support to award. However, there can be a deviation from these guidelines if adherence to the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. The finding that rebuts the statutory child support guidelines needs to state how much child support would have been awarded per the statutory guidelines, why a deviation is justified and evidence of the following factors.

One factor the court will consider is what monetary support the parents and child receive from other current or former family members. If the child has independent financial resources, this may also be considered. Child custody arrangements, along with expenses associated with travel for visitation periods are another factor the court will consider.

Several tips for effective co-parenting after divorce

Parenting after divorce can be a challenge. you previously had a partner under the same roof who assisted with the parenting duties. But now it is all up to you. Additionally, you now share parenting duties with someone who may not only live far away but may not always be that easy to be in touch with.

However, both parents are usually aware of the importance of co-parenting and keeping the well-being of the children as their focus. Below are six tips to make your co-parenting duties more effective and beneficial for your child.

Celebrities exemplify co-parenting following a divorce

Do all child custody issues need to become a heated, emotional affair? Not necessarily. Parents in Falls Church who are pursuing a divorce can learn from one recent celebrity divorce where the parents are putting the child's needs first.

Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt can serve as an example of how one can co-parent following a divorce. The couple, who were married eight years and have a 6-year-old son, recently finalized their divorce. Faris and Pratt will share physical and legal custody of their son. Per their divorce documents, however, they must continue to reside within five miles of one another. This arrangement is to continue until their son finishes sixth grade.

How should child custody time-sharing schedules be handled?

Most parents in Virginia understand that their divorce can be difficult on their child. Their child may wonder if the divorce was his or her fault, or he or she may be concerned about having to live with each parent separately at different times. Parents can do a lot to ease the transition for their child. This includes developing a fair and workable time-sharing schedule that meets the best interests of the child.

For example, when it comes to developing a time-sharing schedule, each parent should have the child for overnights in his or her home, absent abuse or other unusual circumstances. Parents must stay in communication with one another, despite the divorce, as they work together to raise their child. This means adhering to the time-sharing schedule, notifying the other parent if an existing time-sharing schedule isn't working and seeking a modification in court if necessary.

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