Separation

Virginia Separation Attorneys


Top Rated Separation 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 separation and divorce lawyers
  • Highly Rated By Clients
  • Big Divorce Law Firm experience in a boutique setting
  • Client focused approach with one-on-one attention
  • Cost-effective approach
  • Payment plans available

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


Separation in Virginia

Clients often ask “how can I legally separate from my spouse?” The answer in Virginia is quite simple. Once you start sleeping separately from your spouse with the intent that the separation remain permanent, you are considered “legally” separated. There is no court filing or written agreement required in order to initiate a separation in Virginia. In order to pursue a divorce based on separation, you will need to be separated for 6 months and have a written agreement if you have no minor children, or you will need to be separated for one year if you have minor children.

Time spent living under the same roof can count towards your separation period. The earliest you can initiate a divorce is either 6 months or 1 year from the beginning of the separation period, otherwise the court does not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce.

Separation in the Same Household

Often, parties cannot afford to move into new residences right away. If they have a joint mortgage or lease obligation, neither party may be able to afford to move out. This can mean a portion of separation is spent living in the same household.

If you are still living under the same roof, you want to make clear your intent to remain separated from your spouse. This means buying separate groceries, splitting your financial obligations, and not attending events together.

Other Requirements for Divorce

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. A knowledgeable family law attorney can advise you on where jurisdiction is proper for your case.

Our Services

The attorneys at Melone Hatley, PC can help with any of the following areas:

  • Uncontested Divorce 
  • Separation Agreements 
  • Contested Divorce 
  • Division of Property
  • Child Custody & Visitation 
  • Child Support 
  • Spousal Support

Support Issues During Separation

If spouses are living in the same household during their divorce case, a judge may be hesitant to award spousal or child support. If both spouses are contributing to joint expenses such as the mortgage, lease, car payments, utilities, childcare costs, or others the court can consider those payments to offset a support obligation. If you are in need of financial support, it’s best to speak with an attorney who can review your situation in detail and advise you of your options.

Custody During Separation

Just like with support, most judges are hesitant about entering custody or visitation orders while the parties are still living together. If one spouse has plans to move out of the home, the court may enter an order regarding visitation once that spouse leaves. Otherwise, both parents have an equal right to the children during the course of their separation.

Separation Agreements

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement regarding financial and property division, custody, support, and other terms for your separation, it’s best to have a written agreement as soon as possible. Once you have the terms of your agreement in writing, you have the ability to have the court enforce the terms of the agreement against your spouse if necessary. It’s best to have an attorney write your separation agreement so you can be sure all terms are included and enforceable.


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

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  • V.M.

    “We have been working with Attorney Marcus Mitchell for several months. We find him to be knowledgeable, professional and he goes above and beyond in communications. We highly recommend him!”

  • R.S.

    “Worked with both James and Rebecca. Both were very professional and worked hard to make sure I was taken care of with my child support cases. I fully recommend them.”

  • M.A.

    “I had started this process of going through child custody at Norfolk JDR with Mr. Hatley about 2 1/2 years ago. He had done SO much from fighting false domestic violence charges to helping me gain custody of my son. I was skeptical when I first came in years ago because I got passed off from another lawyer to Mr. Hatley.

    I was very blunt and had told him that I needed everything he had and that is exactly what he did. He was there for every phone call, every emergency, every email, every court appearance on time and dressed extremely well. He knew his stuff and he had saved me a lot of money and time staying out of court for false charges. If you ever get the unlucky chance of having to go to court you wont be unlucky if you have Hatley on your side. Thank you guys for everything you have done.”

  • D.S.

    “This is by far the #1 Law Firm! I had the pleasure of hiring this firm at the Reston, Virginia location and it surpassed all of my expectations. Melone Hatley P.C has exceptional attributes including:

    1) Customer Service- The staff is ALWAYS pleasant/warming

    2) Communication- Attorney’s are very easy to contact and the response time is rapid.

    3) Cost- The retainer and hourly attorney fee’s are very cost efficient

    4) Client Case- They work diligently on my case”

  • T.F.

    “Thomas Robl is an amazing attorney. He took care of my family when we needed it the most. I will definitely be recommending Melone Hatley to anyone who asks me about a family lawyer!”

  • N.N.

    “They were so friendly and attentive to the matter I brought to them. I wasn’t just treated like “another case”. It felt like they actually cared about me and the outcome of the matter I brought to them. The positive results they got me obviously were the best part!”

  • S.H.

    “I hired MH to handle a divorce. Charles and Angela have been nothing but professional, empathetic, and timely. There isn’t another firm out there that will provide this level of care. Highly recommended.”

  • A.D.

    “Ms. Alexandra at Melone Hatley is great with her communication skills. Very honest, helpful, and keeps to her word. Flawless system that this law firm has set up. Impressed to say the least.”

  • C.C.

    “I definitely recommend this law firm. Marcus Mitchell was straight forward with us and genuinely care about how stressful and hard it was to go to court. He seem to be able to make everything work out a lot smoother than of could have been, thankfully. We will definitely be using him again should we need to.”

  • B.M.

    “Mr Mitchell was incredibly helpful with regard to my legal issue. I received prompt responses, straight forward answers, and service on a level which seldom reached in the world of litigation. Thank you Mr Mitchell. I highly recommend Mr Mitchell’s services for anyone facing a legal dilemma.”

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