Virginia Divorce Attorneys

Top Rated Divorce Attorneys Providing Guidance and Protecting Your Rights During Difficult Times. Serving Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Why Choose Melone Hatley, P.C.?
  • Experienced, aggressive and caring divorce lawyers
  • Highly Rated By Clients
  • Big Law Firm experience in a boutique setting
  • Client focused approach with one-on-one attention
  • Cost-effective approach
  • Payment plans available

Questions regarding divorce issues? Contact our office today or schedule a free initial consultation.

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Whether you are facing a contested or uncontested divorce, our team can make sure you understand your rights and options at every step of the process. We pride ourselves on making sure clients understand their choices so they can make an informed decision about how to proceed with their case.

We frame every case in terms of what the court would do, so that clients understand their range of potential outcomes and can help minimize risk.

For any divorce case in Virginia, one party has to have been a resident for at least 6 months prior to filing the case. If the other spouse has no connection to Virginia, the court may not have jurisdiction to determine any property or support issues between the parties.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested cases are relatively straightforward, once you and your spouse reach an agreement. In Virginia, parties with no minor children must have a written separation agreement and be separated for 6 months prior to initiating a court case for a divorce.

If the parties have minor children, they must be separated for 1 year prior to filing a divorce case. The only no-fault ground for divorce in Virginia is separation, which means physical separation of the parties.

No formal documentation is required to initiate a separation. Once the parties physically separate with the intent to remain separated permanently, the criteria have been met.

The procedure for obtaining a divorce will depend upon whether the parties have a written separation agreement, in which case they may be able to finalize the case using affidavits.

If everything is resolved, including property division, debt division, and all custody and support issues, an affidavit divorce may be the fastest way to finalize the case. If some or all issues are not resolved, the court will need to schedule a contested hearing.

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Contested Divorce

Contested cases can be contested for a number of reasons. First, the grounds for the divorce may not be agreed. Fault-based grounds for divorce in Virginia include cruelty, desertion/abandonment, adultery, or a felony conviction that results in incarceration of at least one year.

  • Adultery must be proven by clear and convincing evidence, a higher standard than other grounds for divorce. Proof of adultery may include admissions from the other party, evidence of messages sent, photographs, or videos. Adultery cases can be complex to prove. If proven, adultery can act as a bar to a claim for spousal support.
  • Cruelty means physical abuse; and it must be shown to have occurred on more than one instance. Threats of physical harm can be a ground for a divorce from bed and board, but not a final divorce. Once the parties have been separated for one year they can petition for a final divorce based on separation.
  • Desertion/Abandonment. In order to prove desertion or abandonment, the spouse must show something more than just separation. If a spouse leaves the marital home and all financial obligations behind, they may be found to have deserted the marriage.
  • Felony Conviction. In order to get a divorce based on a felony conviction, the conviction must result in a period of incarceration for at least 1 year. The spouse must also be incarcerated for a period of at least 1 year.

Next, even if the grounds for the divorce are not contested, any number of issues may be disputed between the parties, requiring a contested hearing. Among the issues are financial division of both assets and debts, custody and visitation of minor children, and support issues.

A contested case is initiated by filing a Complaint for Divorce and serving the other side with notice and an opportunity to file a response. In some cases, an initial temporary motion called a pendente lite motion may be necessary to get a temporary ruling in place while the parties wait for trial.

During a contested case, the parties can engage in discovery, which is the process of requesting and exchanging financial documents and other requests regarding the evidence to be presented at trial. Both parties are entitled to a disclosure from one another regarding their finances and any other evidence they intend to introduce to the court.

If you are facing separation and divorce, contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Divorce Lawyer.

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    “I hired Rebecca Melone to assist my small business in developing a new contract. She was so easy to talk to, definitely not your stereotype attorney type. She was so down to earth and offered so many suggestions for my business. I was so impressed with her that I just decided to have her write up a new contract all together, which she did in record breaking speed. Whatever your legal issue is, I would recommend Rebecca Melone hands down.”

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    “I was seeking for an attorney to help me with my child custody/support and Ms. Melone was great. Right from the beginning, she responded very promptly and professionally. She listened to everything I had to say and gave me great honest advice on all concerns I had. At the end everything turned out in my favor. She was awesome!”

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  • Painless and Stress-free

    “I hired Rebecca for my divorce. Rebecca was very informative, professional and responded to any of my questions in a prompt manner. I was very impressed by the services rendered. My divorce process was as painless and stress-free as could be. I Would definitely recommend her to anyone I know.”

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    “Rebecca Melone was a great choice for handling our divorce. Reasonable and clear-cut fee and responsive service. I’ll definitely use her in the future should the need arise. Thanks Rebecca!”

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    “I received top quality legal service and advice from Rebecca and her team. She was extremely knowledgeable and experienced in all matters as the case evolved. I felt like I was in great hands the entire time. The case was settled with a positive outcome. I would highly recommend this law firm!”

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    “Very prompt in answering calls and replying to email, found her competitively priced and overall gets the job done in a professional and time-sensitive way.”

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    “We were very prepared the day of the hearing and she stayed with me for several hours until we successfully completed the process and got all the necessary paperwork done.”

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    “Rebecca is very knowledgeable and helped me with a cross state custody case. She is very easy to work with, got things done quickly, and helped me get the results I was looking for.”


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