First, it’s highly recommended to hire a Virginia Beach divorce attorney, especially one that deals exclusively in family law. These attorneys know the ins and outs of the court system and of the state code that governs divorce in Virginia. An experienced Virginia Beach divorce attorney will also have worked one-on-one with many clients, helping each traverse the often difficult and emotional road to a post-divorce life.
After hiring a lawyer, he or she initially will help you decide which type of divorce to seek. In Virginia, you cannot file a Complaint for Divorce with the Virginia Beach Circuit Court without specifying a reason.
In this state, people have several reasons, or grounds, to file for divorce, but only one that takes the estranged spouses on the uncontested divorce route – it’s called no-fault divorce. This is when both spouses agree in writing on how the marriage will be dissolved, including separating assets and sharing custody of the children if the marriage produced any.
A separation agreement is drawn up that outlines these agreed-upon issues (and eventually becomes a part of the divorce decree). Separation agreements in Virginia help couples avoid costly, stressful and time-consuming courtroom disputes. In fact, if both parties agree on all the major issues, property distribution, child custody, spousal and child support, they will not have to go to court at allforthe divorce to be final.
Couples seeking no-fault divorces can legally have the marriage dissolved if they have lived apart for six months, without children from the marriage, or a year if the marriage produced children. Recently, though, more couples are choosing to live together but apart under the same roof for financial reasons. That scenario is typically reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the courts.
If they are unable to agree on the major issues, spouses may be able to file for a fault-based divorce. Reasons for this type of divorce are based on misconduct in Virginia and are:
- A felony conviction and confinement following the conviction
- Cruelty, willful desertion or abandonment.
Due to the complex nature of the hearings and their long-lasting implications, an experienced Virginia Beach divorce lawyer is essential to protect each party’s interests.
As with uncontested divorces, those contesting the marriage’s demise must still file a Complaint for Divorce with the Circuit Court stating a reason for the impending divorce.
The next step is typically a court hearing where a judge temporarily issues court orders dealing with spousal and child support, visitation of the child(ren) and other important financial issues that must be addressed immediately, i.e. auto usage, mortgage payments, etc.
Next comes discovery, where information and important documents are shared between the estranged spouses. After, a trial date is set.
Along the way, Virginia Beach couples always have the option to negotiate or mediate divorce terms to prevent the matter from going to trial. A reputable, experienced Virginia Beach divorce attorney will work toward an amicable agreement that oftentimes keeps both parties – and the children – out of the courtroom.
Worth noting, since so many military men and women live in Virginia Beach and surrounding areas, there are several factors surrounding military employment that can make the process more difficult and time consuming. To name just a few: military pensions, health insurance coverage, gross income calculations and the federal regulations determining the benefits to divorced spouses.
Whether you are a member of the military or a civilian seeking divorce, you should look for a Virginia Beach divorce attorney with years of in-depth experiencein family law to represent your interests and rights under both federal and state laws.
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Address: 4705 Columbus Street, Suite 101
Virginia Beach, VA 23462-6749
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