Family Law FAQs

December 3, 2014 in FAQs | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Virginia Family Law Lawyers

Do I need an attorney to file for divorce?

You may be tempted to buy an online divorce kit, read a few divorce books, consult an “expert” divorce website and attempt a “do-it-yourself” divorce.  But the truth is that being represented by a skilled and experienced divorce attorney will most likely save you time, money, and peace of mind in the long run.  Additionally, divorce is a difficult experience for all involved, and having the counsel and guidance of a skilled divorce attorney can bring some much needed peace and stability.

The Charlottesville divorce attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. have filed hundreds of divorce cases and understand the legal and practical aspects of the divorce process in great detail.  This allows our divorce attorneys to provide insight into the long term considerations and to offer creative solutions to support or property dilemmas.

Should my divorce be filed in Virginia?

To seek a divorce in Virginia, one spouse must be a resident of Virginia or a member of the armed forces stationed in Virginia for six months.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

In Virginia, the divorce process begins when one spouse files a Complaint for Divorce with the circuit court.  Once the other spouse is served with the papers, there is a set time to respond.  The process can then move very quickly if the spouses are able to agree on crucial issues such as property division, debt responsibilities, child custody and support matters, and any spousal support.  However, if there is great disagreement on these issues, other means for compromise will likely be employed.  These differences may be resolved through negotiation, mediation, or a trial.

A skilled family law attorney can help keep the process swift and smooth.  The Charlottesville divorce attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. are able to aggressively represent your best interests, dealing firmly but fairly with the other party.

What are the grounds for divorce in Virginia?

The grounds for divorce are set by Virginia statute.  Virginia Code Section 20-91 provides the grounds for divorce to include living separate and apart for a specific amount of time (no-fault divorce), as well as fault-based grounds, such as adultery, cruelty and desertion.

The unique aspects of a divorce in Virginia can be complicated, so an experienced divorce attorney who understands the precise nature of your situation can advise you as to whether divorce is proper and available in your case.

How does the court determine who gets custody of the children?

Upon a divorce, the primary concern of any Virginia court regarding custody is the best interests of the child. This may sound simple, but this consideration involves a careful and thorough analysis of many factors laid out by Virginia law including, the child’s current physical and mental status, developing needs, past relationship with each parent, parent’s capacity to meet the child’s needs, and the child’s preference, among many others.

Having the representation of a family law attorney can help ensure that your case is fully and adequately presented to the court.  The family law attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. are dedicated to guiding you through this difficult process to find a swift and fair arrangement that honors your relationship with your children.

How is child support calculated in Virginia?

Virginia holds both parents, whether married to one another or not, responsible to care for their children.  In the best case scenario of a divorce, the spouses will agree to an agreeable and reasonable child support arrangement.  However, when an agreement is not reached, the courts will examine a number of factors in shaping an order for child support.  Virginia law provides a somewhat precise formula that can be employed to determine the amount of child support that may be ordered.  However, either parent is able to present evidence to a court that this calculated amount is unfair.  A court will then look to an additional set of factors to see if the predetermined amount should be reduced or increased.

For these reasons, it is extremely helpful to be represented by an experienced family law attorney.  The family law attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. can aggressively represent your interests and ensure that your child is cared and provided for well.

Can I get alimony in my Virginia divorce?

In Virginia, alimony (or spousal support) is not a certainty.  If an agreement between the spouses is not reached through mediation or collaboration, the court will examine a number of considerations to determine whether you are eligible for spousal support or will be required to pay spousal support.  A helpful analysis in gauging the situation is to look at the difference between one spouse’s ability to pay and the other spouse’s need for reasonable income.  However, a spouse can be denied alimony upon proof that he or she committed adultery.

An experienced Virginia divorce attorney can examine the specifics of your situation and provide a better answer as to whether you may be eligible for or required to pay alimony.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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