Divorce is often both tedious and painful. You might have children to think about. You have assets to divide.
Even without those two items, the divorce process usually involves disagreement and conflict between spouses. It requires a large amount of decision-making and paperwork. While family law matters can be difficult, you do not have to go through it alone. Melone Hatley, P.C. has been recognized as a knowledgeable and compassionate family law firm. We are eager to help you through your Virginia divorce case.
This guide will teach you how to identify and avoid the ten most common mistakes people make in a divorce.
While it is possible for two spouses to reach an agreement on the important issues in their divorce on their own, Virginia divorce law can be complicated and tricky. Even if you and your spouse are able to create a separation agreement yourselves, divorce proceedings have to follow specific rules and procedures. An uncontested divorce case must follow various legal formalities.
Divorce lawyers know all of the requirements for divorce cases in Norfolk courts. They can help you make sure that settlement agreements and other documents cover all of the important issues and are in the proper format. Negotiating a legal separation agreement requires close attention to a wide range of issues:
A family law attorney can help you whether you are dealing with an uncontested or a contested divorce. They can make sure that you are addressing all of the necessary issues and help you reach an amicable resolution to your divorce.
Not every divorce, however, can end in a negotiated settlement. Spouses may continue to disagree over issues involving property, support, or children. Courts in Virginia require spouses to make an effort to resolve their disputes before going to court. If it turns out that a settlement is not possible, your divorce lawyer can advocate for your rights in the courtroom.
Virginia law does not provide for legal separation. Divorce is the only way to end a marriage. In order to file for divorce in a Norfolk court, one spouse must have been a resident of Virginia for at least six months before filing. The spouses’ residency will affect the court’s authority to decide various issues:
Virginia allows “no-fault divorce,” meaning that a spouse does not have to prove wrongdoing by the other spouse in order for the court to grant a divorce. The only criterion for a no-fault divorce involves how long the spouses have lived apart from one another:
Several other grounds for divorce are possible under Virginia law. Divorce is possible after a year has passed since either of the following has occurred:
If a spouse can prove one of the following grounds, a court may grant a divorce regardless of how long, or whether, the spouses have been separated:
This question has no clear-cut answer. The cost to file for divorce in Virginia depends on factors like children, assets, and each spouse’s willingness to negotiate a settlement. The more time the parties spend arguing, both at conference tables and in courtrooms, the more costs they will incur. Sometimes a certain amount of conflict is necessary in divorce proceedings, but keep in mind that more conflict usually leads to more cost.
Generally speaking, divorce attorneys may charge anywhere between $350 and $375 per hour, with some outlier prices on both ends. Norfolk divorce lawyers’ hourly rates usually equate with experience.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses reach a settlement agreement without any court hearings. Uncontested divorce offers some advantages:
While an uncontested divorce could help you save on legal fees, it could cost you more in the long run if you give up valuable assets or other legal rights in the interest of getting to a settlement agreement.
A contested divorce often requires the court to decide issues for the two parties. It can be advantageous in situations where you and your spouse cannot agree on much. You have the opportunity to present your entire case to a judge and have them decide. The disadvantages mirror the advantages of uncontested divorce:
Spousal support may be available in Norfolk divorce cases when the spouses have been married for a long time and one of them has substantially more income than the other. Factors that courts must consider when deciding whether to award spousal support include:
Spousal support is not meant to be a punishment for misconduct. Courts will mostly consider whether one spouse will need help after the marriage ends. If a spouse will be able to support themselves better once they gain more education or training, a court might order temporary alimony. If they will need help on a longer basis, the court could make the spousal support award permanent.
If you and your spouse have minor children, child custody will have to be part of your divorce case. Virginia law identifies two types of custody:
A court may grant joint physical and legal custody to both parents, sole custody to one parent, or a combination of joint and sole custody.
Any decision regarding child custody must be in a child’s “best interests.” Courts have rather wide discretion to decide what that means since every child’s case is different. Factors that courts consider when deciding child custody include:
Representing yourself in a Norfolk, Virginia divorce case is rarely a good idea, especially when you and your spouse disagree over the children, dividing your joint assets, or other issues. Without knowledge of Virginia family law and the legal system, you could be at a serious disadvantage, especially if your spouse has an attorney. Legal representation by a Norfolk divorce lawyer offers many potential benefits:
Divorce is a painful and confusing process. Making decisions while going through this kind of turmoil can be difficult. The award-winning divorce lawyers at Melone Hatley, P.C. understand how overwhelming this ordeal can be. The firm has years of experience representing clients in no-fault divorce, military divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and other family law practice areas.
Melone Hatley, P.C. is a truly well-versed law firm. We have decades of experience helping Norfolk residents reach peaceful, agreeable divorces. If you live in surrounding Hampton Roads areas, like Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Newport News, or Portsmouth, we can also provide you legal services involving family law, estate planning, and various other areas of litigation. We offer our clients free eBooks, free advice videos, and easy online scheduling. To request a consultation, please call our law office at 800.479.8124 or complete the online contact form to speak with the Melone Hatley, P.C. team about your case.
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