This is truly the most sensitive areas of
the law. Usually emotions are very high between parties. Family
law consists of several areas, including divorce, custody and
Divorce law is certainly the most common area of
family law. Most litigants in Virginia file for divorce under
the no-fault provisions. Although there are some fault based grounds
(adultery, abandonment etc.) usually the no-fault divorce is much
easier and less litigious. If you have no children with your spouse,
and you have entered into a valid separation agreement, the waiting
period to file for divorce is 6 months from separation. Alternatively,
if you have children with your spouse or if you do not have a
separation agreement, then you must wait 12 months from the date
of your separation before filing for divorce.
For most individuals, the divorce is uncontested.
If you are fortunate enough to be in this category, your divorce
will be very affordable. However, if there is a contest between
parties regarding custody or equitable distribution, then professional
fees may be more modestly priced. If you are not in a simple uncontested
divorce, generally the fight is over custody or who gets to live
in the marital home. Many times these issues can be litigated
immediately after separation. Although any decision of the Court
may just be temporary, it could provide you with immediate relief
and help the parties enter into a settlement agreement at the
Custody is also a very common area of family law.
Generally custody deals with the custody of children. If you have
children in common with your spouse, you can seek custody and
support either through the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court
or through a Pendente Lite hearing in the Circuit Court before
actually obtaining a divorce. The right jurisdictional Court will
be discussed with you based on your situation. If you are not
married to the other parent, generally you must go through the
Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court for a determination of
custody. However, the Circuit Court sits as an appellate Court
over the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court. For the most
part, Custody and visitation orders are never final. The Court
can always modify any previously entered order for good cause
and in the best interest of the child. However, a Virginia Court
will not modify a custody order of another state unless jurisdiction
is transferred. This can occur, but is very fact specific.
Other areas of family law are much rarer, and if
you have a specific need in these areas, then please make a consultation
to discuss your issue as soon as possible. Many areas of family
law have specific time limitations, and it is very important to
preserve your rights as soon as possible. Please fill out the
Domestic Case form which will provide me with the essential information
to begin working on your case.
TO BEGIN THE DOMESTIC CASE QUESTIONNAIRE OR
HERE to fill out the "General Response Form" and
I will contact you about your case.
This form spans approximately 5 pages
(depending on the number of minor children involved), required
fields are marked with an (R).
At the end of the form you will have the opportunity to review
and edit all of the information you provided on the form.
While working on the form, you may go back to previous pages by
using the back button at the bottom of the form, however answers
on the page you are currently working on when you click the back
button will NOT be saved and you
will need to re-enter the information, therefore I highly recommend
that you complete the entire form, then review and edit your answers.
You may NOT stop part way through
the form and come back to it later as your information will NOT
be saved for you. Should you click any links on the form
page, the linked page will open in a new window. Simply
close that window to return to the form where you left off.
Clicking a link from the form will not cause your information
to be deleted.
You will have
the opportunity to schedule an appointment with me for a real-time
Internet chat or phone call to discuss your case after you have
completed the form.
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