Richmond Divorce Lawyer

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If you are going through a divorce, you know it can be painful and cause severe stress. There are many decisions that you must make, and working through things with your former partner can be challenging or even impossible. Navigating the divorce process on your own can be incredibly difficult. Fortunately, an experienced Richmond divorce attorney can help you.

At Melone Hatley, P.C., we know what you are going through. Our team of compassionate yet aggressive Richmond family lawyers will do everything in our power to ensure that the terms of your divorce work for you. Reach out to us by phone or through our website today to set up your free initial case evaluation with a member of our legal team.

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Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney in Richmond

Although some people manage to reach an amicable divorce settlement without involving lawyers, most separating couples struggle to get on the same page. Furthermore, even if you are able to agree on terms with your former partner, there are specific legal formalities that must be observed in an uncontested divorce case.

When You Negotiate a Divorce Agreement Directly With Your Former Partner

If you come to terms on a divorce settlement by talking things out with your former spouse, hiring an attorney can still be critical. Your divorce lawyer can help ensure that you meet all the requirements for your divorce and that all the necessary documents are filed correctly and on time. 

Your lawyer can also review the terms you have agreed upon with you to make sure you are fully aware of how you will be affected by the divorce agreement.

When You Can’t Reach an Agreement With Your Former Partner

Most people will need help reaching an agreement on at least some of the issues that must be resolved with their former spouse. If there are things you can’t agree upon, your lawyer can help you negotiate a deal that you can both agree on. You can also seek help through an independent third-party mediator.

While you must first work to reach a deal through a form of alternative dispute resolution, if you still can not fully resolve all the issues you need to settle with your former spouse, you will have to take your case to court. In court, your Richmond divorce lawyer will argue your case and attempt to persuade the judge to rule in your favor.

Requirements for Getting a Divorce in Richmond, Virginia

To file for divorce in Richmond, one spouse needs to have been a Virginia resident for at least six months before filing. While the court will have full authority to decide all issues in the case if all parties are Virginia residents, the same does not hold true if one spouse lives in another state. 

In this case, the court can still grant the divorce but can not make any rulings regarding spousal support or division of assets located outside Virginia. If the separating couple has children, the court will only be able to rule on child custody and child support if the children live in Virginia.

Virginia Is a No-Fault Divorce State

Virginia allows no-fault divorces, where a spouse can file for divorce without proving wrongdoing. However, in these cases, there is a requirement regarding how long the two parties have lived apart. If the couple has no children, they need to have been separated for at least six months, whereas couples with children need to have been separated for at least one year.

In cases where a party is seeking a divorce because their spouse committed adultery or has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to at least one year in jail or prison, a divorce can be granted immediately, regardless of the length of separation.

Determining Child Custody, Child Support, Alimony, & Division of Assets

Divorces where the two parties did not have kids together tend to be far simpler to resolve than cases involving children. In cases not involving children, alimony and division of assets are the two most important things that must be resolved. Meanwhile, when children are involved, Virginia child custody and child support become incredibly important.

Child Custody

If you have children with your former partner, determining custody is going to be the most important decision you make. There are two forms of custody that need to be decided. 

Physical custody determines the right of a parent to live or have regular contact with their child. Legal custody determines the right to make decisions regarding your child’s health, religious upbringing, education, and overall well-being. The court may grant joint physical and legal custody to both parents, sole custody to one parent, or some form of combination.

When deciding custody, some of the things the court will consider include:

  • The child’s age
  • The cognitive abilities of the child
  • The child’s developmental needs
  • The child’s wishes regarding custody if they are at least 14 years of age
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to care for the child’s needs
  • The willingness of each parent to co-parent the child
  • If either parent has a history of sexual abuse or domestic violence

Child Support

The main factor that is considered in determining child support is which parent has primary physical custody of the child. Typically, the parent without primary custody will have to pay child support to the parent who is looking after the child more often. The amount that will be paid will mainly depend on the financial situation of both parents and the needs of the child.


Spousal support may be granted if the two parties were married for a substantial length of time and one spouse makes significantly more money than the other. When determining whether or not to grant alimony and in what amount the court will consider:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The health and age of each spouse
  • The income of both parties at the time of the divorce
  • The future earning capacity of both parties
  • The distribution of property
  • The lifestyle enjoyed by each party during the marriage
  • Whether either spouse gave up a career to support their partner or their children
  • Whether either party was guilty of misconduct in the marriage, including adultery or abuse

Division of Assets

Many factors will be considered when dividing your assets. Unless you have signed a prenuptial agreement, the court will typically aim for an even division of assets. However, the court will take into account assets that the two parties had when they entered into the marriage, as well as whether any assets were solely the possession of one party or the other during the marriage.

Get Help from an Experienced Divorce Attorney Serving Richmond Today

When going through a divorce, having an experienced Richmond divorce lawyer by your side can make all the difference. At Melone Hatley, P.C., we have helped countless clients navigate through challenging separations in the decade since we founded our firm.

Contact us today by phone or through this website to schedule a free case consultation with a member of our legal team.

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