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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

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.

When can a person stop paying alimony?

Whenever a Virginia resident has a question about their post-divorce obligations, they should consult both their final divorce decree and their family law attorney. Their final divorce decree will include all provisions that are relevant to their expectations once their marriage is over, and their family law attorney can provide any answers that they need to their case-specific questions. This post provides general information only and should not be read as legal advice.

Alimony obligations can end for a number of reasons. Not all alimony awards are permanent, and therefore conditions for termination may be written into any language that individuals' divorce decrees contain. For example, if alimony is only supposed to last until an individual is able to complete their education and get back into the workforce, then it may terminate upon the completion of these events.

Don't overlook the special issues in a military divorce

Every marriage has its unique joys and challenges. If you serve in the military or are married to a servicemember, you face additional trials other couples may not understand. The stress of long deployments, frequent moves to new assignments and the pressure of military duties can be difficult to handle.

Whether these issues or your personal differences have led you to the decision to divorce, you should know that you will be dealing with some special complications related to your status as a servicemember or spouse. You may find it helpful to have legal assistance from someone who has experience with military divorce.

Same-sex divorce has unique complications

The federal government's recognition of same-sex marriage was a welcome move to many in the LGBT community. However, like many, you may have been in a monogamous relationship long before the Supreme Court ruling. Not only do you now have all the rights opposite-sex couples have, including the rights to marry and adopt children, but you can also legally divorce your spouse.

Unfortunately, for many same-sex couples, divorcing is far more complicated than it is for opposite-sex couples. You have only had access to legal marriage in Virginia since 2014, but you and your partner may have had a deeply committed relationship for many years. Your divorce will only deal with legal matters from the date of your wedding. How do you handle issues that relate to the years, perhaps decades, before?

The complex issues of international divorce

Laws related to marriage and divorce exist at the state level. That means the federal government does not have any say in whether your marriage is legal or your divorce is valid. Each state recognizes marriages from other states, but things get more complicated when you are dealing with family law matters from other countries. If your spouse has ties outside the U.S. and you are heading toward divorce, you may be concerned and confused.

You may wonder why it matters whether a foreign divorce is valid in Virginia. The fact is that your divorce can affect many federal issues, including your income taxes, your Social Security benefits and others. Additionally, if you hope to marry again in the future, you will want to be certain your divorce is valid. How can you obtain that assurance?

Will a gray divorce leave you struggling?

It may be a great relief to hear that the rate of divorce across the country has been declining in recent decades. However, if you are 50 years or older, you should not be so quick to celebrate. The rate of divorce for your age group, known as "gray divorce," is climbing, and it is leaving many unprepared spouses facing a difficult road ahead.

The course of your marriage may leave you unsurprised to be facing divorce. You may have even discussed breaking up at earlier points in your relationship, but the time and circumstances never seemed right. Now as you near retirement, you and your spouse may be emotionally ready, but it is critical that you make sure you are also financially stable enough to take this serious step.

Valuation is an important part of the property division process

In Virginia, a couple that chooses to divorce must divide up its marital property so that each partner leaves the relationship with an equitable portion of the total. Virginia follows the principles of equitable division when it comes to divorce-based divisions, which means that property divisions must be fair but not necessarily equal. In order to determine fairness with regard to the amount and value of property each person takes from their shared marital wealth, items of property may be subject to valuation assessments.

At its most basic level, valuation concerns how much money an item is worth. Items may have different values to different people; for example, a work of ark may have a monetary value of $10,000 but may have a much higher intrinsic value to its owner. It is important that individuals understand the value of their property before they are forced to divide it up between themselves and their soon-to-be exes.

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.

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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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