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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

What is the difference between sole and joint custody?

The divorce or separation of two Virginia parents can be hard on everyone in their family as they sort out the details of their futures. When it comes to the care and support of the individuals' children, however, important decisions must be made to ensure that those kids are properly provided for as they transition away from their two-parent home. These decisions revolve around child custody and how the parents should share it.

Child custody covers two distinct types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody covers which parent or parents have the authority to be involved in the raising of their children while physical custody covers which parent or parents have the right to have their children live with them. More information about legal and physical custody should be sought from readers' family law attorneys.

Important considerations for determining alimony

Though alimony is a relatively common matter that must be resolved when two Falls Church residents divorce, it is not always a part of every Virginia divorce. That is because alimony is discretionary for the courts to award and not a mandatory part of ending a marriage. In general, a divorce will include alimony negotiations and deliberations if one of the parties truly needs it to get through their post-divorce life.

Alimony may be awarded if one spouse was the only income-earner during a marriage and the other will have no source of financial support once they are divorced. It is often awarded when long-term marriages end because recipients are less likely to be able to get themselves back into the work force to make their own money. Additionally, alimony may be awarded when a person cannot work due to illness, injury, or another ailment.

What happens if I lose legal custody of my child?

There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Some parents focus on physical custody when they go through separations and divorces because physical custody revolves around where a child will live. A parent who has physical custody of their child is charged with providing for that child's day-to-day needs. Parents can share physical custody, or it may be given to just one of a child's parents.

Legal custody, on the other hand, has to do with who can make decisions about and for a child. A parent who has legal custody may decide or be involved in the decision of where their child will go to school. If a parent has legal custody, they can advocate for a child's involvement (or lack thereof) in a religious practice. When major child rearing issues are in question, parents with legal custody can have a voice in how they are resolved.

What circumstances allow me to change my spousal support?

Let's imagine that you were the primary breadwinner in your marriage. This was the case for years, but the marriage fell apart. You got divorced, and the court ordered you to pay spousal support. Does that mean you need to support your ex indefinitely?

Not necessarily. You may be able to petition the court for a modification of your spousal support. Virginia law allows for the modification or termination of spousal support in the wake of significant changes to either party's circumstances.

Important considerations for those who want the family home

Although a divorce may be a necessary part of starting one's life over in the wake of troubles, it is never easy on a Virginia resident to uproot their life and start fresh as a single individual. For some, letting go of significant pieces of property may be very difficult and they may hope to retain some of those items and parcels once their marriages are over. One of the most sentimental and therefore contested items of property that individuals may share with their soon to be exes is the family home.

A home is more than just a place. To some, it is where they raised their children and created their best memories. It may be unfathomable to some divorcees to see their homes sold so that they can split the proceeds with their exes; they may wish to hold onto their homes one their divorces are over.

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.

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Falls Church, VA 22042
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