Divorce

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A divorce can be one of the most significant and traumatizing events in a person's life.

A divorce can be one of the most significant and traumatizing events in a person's life. It involves highly-charged emotional issues, such as the reason or reasons leading to breakdown of the marriage, feelings of heartbreak and betrayal, and anxiety about finances and the future. From a legal standpoint, a divorce is a legal proceeding in which either one or both of the spouses request a court to dissolve the marriage. In Virginia, a court may grant a divorce only on specific grounds specified by statute. The grounds for divorce are divided into two classes: fault-based grounds and legal separation grounds (informally referred to as no-fault grounds). 

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A divorce case may involve other issues.

A divorce case oftentimes involves much more than the divorce itself. A divorce case may (or may not) involve questions of how the property will be divided between the spouses, how the family's debts should be allocated and paid, and whether one spouse should pay the other alimony. If children are involved, the custody of the children and child support must be addressed. The ground for which a divorce is granted may affect other matters that may be associated with the divorce case. For example, if a court grants the divorce on a fault-based ground, the divorce court may consider that fault in dividing the property and in awarding spousal support. Generally speaking however, a fault-based ground for divorce will not affect a court's custody determination unless the fault has some direct influence on the children, such as physical abuse of the other spouse or the children. 

 

Negotiation and Settlement

Although a divorce case is ultimately resolved in a court of law, all issues involved, including the specific ground for divorce, can be settled if both parties are willing to do so. Click here to learn more about negotiation and settlement.

How to get started.

Whether to pursue a divorce is a daunting and highly personal decision. Once the decision to pursue a divorce has been made, then obvious logistical questions arise. When should I file for divorce? Should I find a new place to live, and if so, how could I possibly afford it? How will I support myself during the divorce? How will custody of the children be handled during the divorce proceedings? How much will this cost? How long will it take? The answer to each of these questions is, it depends. Every divorce case turns on its own facts and circumstances. At its base, a divorce case is a law suit, and the prosecution of a divorce case involves strategic decisions whether the divorce is amicable and likely to settle, or proceed to a full divorce trial. Because the outcome of a divorce case can have life-long repercussions, a family law attorney may be necessary to protect your interests.