By: Paul F. Now that you have decided to start the divorce process, take these six steps before filing for divorce in Virginia in In Virginia, a divorce can be granted on several grounds, which can be fault-based or no fault based.
Skilled Counsel for Your Virginia Divorce
A no fault divorce can be awarded if the couple shows that they have continuously lived separate and apart for one year, without cohabitation. This time period can be reduced to six months if the couple has a property settlement agreement and there are no minor children. Obtaining a fault or a no fault divorce is a legally complicated process and it is imperative that divorcing couples understand the existing laws concerning divorce, how property is divided, and how decisions about custody are made.
The type of divorce you choose significantly impacts the elements you are required to prove, the time it will take to get a divorce, and the final divorce outcome. At Nichols Zauzig, we assist clients with all types of divorces, whether based on fault or not.
How Property is Divided in a Virginia Divorce:
We are willing to work with clients seeking alternatives to litigation including arbitration and mediation. You or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce. That means maintaining a physical residence in Virginia, and considering Virginia as his or her home. Some special residency circumstances exceptions may be applied to military and foreign service personnel.
How will my property be divided in Virginia if I divorce?
An attorney can assist in determining those situations. Before filing for divorce, gather financial information that is available to you. We will ask you to bring in tax returns for the last three years, information about retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets.
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Copy statements from financial institutions, accountants, financial advisors and credit card companies. Consider assets you may have owned before you were married and collect paperwork showing their value prior to marriage.
Child custody and visitation is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. So, is it advisable to start dating while separated? Again, you are not prohibited from doing so. And it is understandable that you may be eager to get back out there into the dating world after years of unhappiness. This will provide you with some protection going forward should you decide to date before the divorce is finalized, as most MSAs contain a provision stating that the parties will not seek a divorce other than on no-fault grounds.
If you are separated from your spouse, be sure to consult with an experienced family lawyer in your jurisdiction before you begin dating. He practices exclusively family law, representing clients clients in separation, divorce, custody, visitation and support cases throughout Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.
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Since every divorce case is different, you may experience these topics in a different order, or possibly even skip a few topics entirely. This organizational structure instead highlights the why behind many of the steps in the Virginia divorce process. For further reading, please see:. The first step in dividing your property may seem obvious, but can be more complicated than it seems. First, it helps to make a list of all property that could become an element of your divorce.
Can You Date While Separated in Virginia?
Some items might be obvious, such as the family home or any cars that are titled in both your names. But what about your retirement accounts from before the marriage?
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What about that family heirloom that your grandmother gave you? And what about the kinds of personal items you accumulate as a married couple, like dining room furniture, that great couch you both love, or the ugly vase you got as a wedding gift? For example, each person might agree they should keep their own vehicle, or you might agree that one person should have the big screen t.
Then, you and your lawyer if you have one can categorize the property on this list using the guidelines provided in the Virginia Code. Additionally, note that debt most forms of debt also fall under these three classifications. For example, debt accrued before the marriage such as a personal loan will generally be separate, while debt accrued during the marriage such as a mortgage will generally be divided between the spouses.
As a quick rundown of things that attorneys generally look for, you should generally write down any information about the following:. As another example, did you and your spouse purchase a super fancy couch for your shared living room?
For this reason, spouses who disagree over the actual value of a piece of property will instead have to argue their case in front of a judge, who will ultimately make the final decision in the case. If your separation agreement skews too far in one way or another, the judge may intervene to ensure that your divorce remains just and fair. Virginia courts will generally consider eleven factors when determining if a distribution is equitable:.
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