Divorce Attorney for Women in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Newport News
You have come to the right place.
If you’re a Virginia woman wondering about separation and divorce, you have come to the right place. If you’re wondering about your rights, what to expect, and what your first steps should be, we can certainly help point you in the right direction.
Our Virginia divorce attorneys practice throughout Hampton Roads, and have offices in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Newport News. To provide you with as much information as possible, we’ve also written several free books, including What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, What Every Virginia Military Wife Needs to Know About Divorce, the Women’s Custody Survival Guide, and the Woman’s Guide to Selecting an Outstanding Divorce and Custody Attorney, that you can request to receive online, and teach live seminars, including one on What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, which is taught in both Virginia Beach and Newport News, and Custody Bootcamp, which is taught in Chesapeake.
The truth is, though, that every divorce is different—just like every marriage is different. Each case presents unique issues, and resolves itself in a different way, even though there are definitely similarities. To ensure that you get specific, custom-tailored information designed to help give you exactly what you need to begin to make the big decisions you’ll need to start making in the coming days and months, we’ve divided the divorce portion of our site into sections. That way, you only spend your time reading things and gathering information that applies to you.
We’ve divided the site up to provide information to you based on how long you have been married and whether or not you have minor children.
The factor that has the most to do with your divorce is whether or not you and your husband have minor children together. Whether or not you have children affects how long your divorce will take and also means that you’ll have to negotiate (or allow the court to decide for you) things like child support, custody, and visitation.
If you don’t have minor children, you can skip these parts altogether, which makes your divorce much simpler.
As you can imagine, kids add an extra layer of complication. If you have kids, you want to make sure you get as much information as possible about how to make the best decisions during your divorce, both for your sake and for theirs. If you don’t have kids, you don’t need a whole lot of time wasted thinking, reading, or learning about custody cases.
Length of Marriage
The amount of time that you’ve been married matters in divorce for two reasons. For one thing, it affects how property will be divided and what your specific entitlements will be. For another, it definitely affects how much property there is to be divided—because, obviously, a marriage that has lasted a longer time has more to divide than one that lasted a much shorter term.
For things like spousal support, length of marriage matters a lot. Why? Well, the purpose of the law is to prevent the higher earning spouse from leaving the lesser earning spouse in total poverty. It doesn’t necessarily strive to equalize the amount of money coming in, but it does try to provide something sort of approximating what the standard of living was during the marriage. The reason this developed is because the court and the law look at marriage as a partnership; one partner may have earned less in order to provide nonmonetary support to the other, higher earning spouse, but that doesn’t mean that the higher earning spouse can go on without further regard for the lower earning spouse. Both were codependent on each other, and their respective contributions, during the marriage, so it follows logically that, after divorce, one can’t get off completely without obligation to the other.
In the court’s view, you are more dependent on your spouse the longer you’ve been married. This belief supports a longer award of spousal support for a marriage that lasted longer. In a short term marriage, you can’t have become as financially dependent (after all, you supported yourself prior to the marriage), so it supports a shorter (or no) award of spousal support.
Length of marriage is only one factor affecting whether or not you’ll be entitled to receive spousal support, but it’s a great starting point of analysis.
There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter Virginia divorce; there are so many different factors and variables that no two divorces are the same. Things like how long you’ve been married can really affect the way your divorce works out, so that’s why we’ve separated the information here by length of marriage. That way, you can navigate directly to the information that will be most beneficial for you, in your specific situation. After all, what good is it going to do to find information that applies to someone else?
So, how does divorce work?
It’s really pretty simple. You can only get divorced in a couple of different ways. Either you negotiate a separation agreement, or you go to court. (Or, in some situations, you negotiate an agreement and go to court, but you only litigate the issues on which you couldn’t agree.)
What’s a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is a legal contract that divides all the assets, liabilities, and responsibilities in your marriage between you and your husband. It handles everything, from real and personal property (like the house and all of your furniture), to custody, visitation, and support, if you have children, as well as spousal support, retirement accounts, credit card and student loan debt, tax issues (like who gets to claim the child or children as a dependent on the tax return), and more.
Having a separation agreement in place means that you can file for an uncontested, no fault divorce. (Alternatively, you would go to court, which means that your divorce could be based on either fault or no fault grounds, but that it would be contested–meaning, essentially, that you couldn’t agree on everything beforehand, and have to have a judge decide for you.)
How would I get a separation agreement?
You can get a separation agreement in place in a number of different ways. You can hire an attorney to negotiate one on your behalf (which is probably the most common way). You can go to mediation. You can hire a collaboratively trained attorney and go through the collaborative divorce process. You can also negotiate an agreement on your own, without hiring an attorney. The end goal is always the same (the separation agreement), but the way of reaching that goal can sometimes look a little different.
What if we wind up in court?
Sometimes it happens. Not every divorce can settle, and that’s okay. Your divorce will probably be one of the single biggest financial transactions of your life and, since your kids are also involved, it’s doubly serious. If your husband is a bully, you may wind up in court, whether you like it or not. It’s important to go into the courtroom prepared, with an experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorney by your side. Our attorneys represent women exclusively in divorce and custody cases, and have a proven track record in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton and even on the Eastern Shore.
You should take your divorce seriously, and have a talk with your attorney about what you hope to get out of it. Envision yourself on the day your final divorce decree gets entered, and ask yourself where you’d like to be. What do you need to get your fresh new start? You may have to go to court to get it, depending on your situation, but you should talk to an attorney ahead of time to get an idea of whether the juice is really worth the squeeze.
Whether you’re going through a divorce in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Newport News, or surrounding areas in Virginia, we can help. Schedule a one-hour legal consultation with one of our qualified divorce attorneys, and we’ll help you get the divorce facts you need. With offices conveniently located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Newport News, our divorce lawyers can help you get started with the legal process and give you sound advice that you can use throughout your divorce. Call us at (757) 785-9761 to make an appointment today with one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys.