Fairfax Divorce Lawyers
Although many couples stay together throughout their lives, some spouses find that their paths diverge. The process of legally dissolving a relationship and determining issues like child custody and property division can be stressful and complicated. If you have decided to end your marriage, you may want to get legal advice on what you can do to protect your interests. The family law attorneys at Robinson Law can help you navigate the legal process and take these burdens off your shoulders. We assist Northern Virginia residents with a broad range of family law matters.Family Law Overview
Disputes between spouses and co-parents often cannot be resolved without legal intervention. Thus, the Virginia legislature has codified a set of laws setting forth the requirements and procedures for determining rights and obligations in family law matters. Family law includes any case that defines or changes a familial relationship, such as a divorce, a custody dispute, an action for spousal or child support, or an adoption proceeding. Family law cases can affect a person’s relationships and assets for a long time in the future. Thus, it is wise to consult a divorce attorney in Fairfax who understands the nuances of the legal process.Divorce
Married couples who no longer wish to remain together can legally dissolve their relationship via a divorce. In Virginia, a spouse can file for a no-fault or fault-based divorce. A no-fault pleading essentially states that the downfall of the marriage is not attributable to either party. Fault-based grounds, such as adultery, cruelty, desertion, and a conviction of a felony resulting in confinement for over a year, place blame for the downfall of the marriage on the non-filing spouse.
When the parents of a child end their relationship, a critical concern involves how custody of the child will be divided. Virginia courts often set up joint legal custody, which allows both parents to participate in making important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as where the child will attend school. Courts also often arrange for joint physical custody, which allows both parents to spend time with the child in their home. In some cases, though, a court will determine that a sole custody arrangement, in which one parent retains the right to make decisions regarding the child’s care and control, is appropriate. Our Fairfax divorce attorneys can advocate for the appropriate arrangement in your case. In any child custody case, the court will focus on the best interests of the child in making its decision.Child Support
In Virginia, parents are obligated to support their children financially, but in some cases, a parent will lack the means or resources to provide for his or her child. Thus, in many instances, a court will order one parent to pay child support to the other parent. Support obligations are determined by the income of both parents and the reasonable needs of the child. They are calculated based on support guidelines established by the legislature. A court is permitted to deviate from the guidelines if it finds that a deviation is warranted under the circumstances, though.
When a couple divorces, one spouse may be awarded spousal support (alimony) if it is deemed necessary. A court will consider numerous factors in determining whether spousal support should be awarded, including the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of each spouse, the mental and physical health of each spouse, and the financial needs of each spouse. However, a court generally will not award alimony to a spouse who is deemed at fault for the demise of the marriage.Property Division
In Virginia, any marital property is subject to division in a divorce, while any separate property will remain the property of the spouse to whom it belongs. Marital property refers to most property that either spouse acquires during the marriage, unless it is specifically characterized as separate property or falls within an exception. A court will divide marital property in a manner that it deems equitable and just, considering factors such as each party’s income and assets and the duration of the marriage. Our Fairfax divorce lawyers can help you pursue a division that will preserve your financial security.Paternity
In Virginia, if a child is born to unmarried parents, the child’s paternity may need to be legally established to define the rights and obligations of both parents. Paternity must be established through evidence that is clear and convincing. This may involve a written admission of paternity signed by the purported father, scientific evidence of parentage, or claiming a child as a dependent on a tax return. Ascertaining paternity may allow a child to enjoy a relationship with both parents and may allow either parent to institute an action defining custody rights or support obligations.Adoption
In Virginia, any person can petition to adopt a child. If a married person wishes to adopt a child, his or her spouse must join in the petition. The child’s birth mother and presumed adjudicated or acknowledged birth father generally must consent to the child’s adoption, but there are exceptions in certain instances, such as when the child has been abandoned, or when a birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated. If the child whom a person wishes to adopt is 14 or older, the child must consent to the adoption, unless the court finds that it is in the child’s best interests to waive this requirement.Modifications of Final Judgments
In many family law cases, a court will issue an order that it deems final, but this does not mean that the order can never be modified. For example, either parent can petition the court to modify a custody order, and the court will determine whether a modification is warranted by assessing whether there has been a change in circumstances that is material. A material change may involve a change in the health of either parent or the child, a change in either parent’s employment, or a change in the primary residence of either parent.Consult a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
At Robinson Law, we understand what it takes to achieve a successful outcome in a domestic matter, and we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. Our divorce lawyers represent people in Fairfax and throughout Northern Virginia. You can contact us through our online form or at (888) 259-9787 to schedule a consultation.