I don’t know about you, but I don’t like talking to people I don’t know on the phone. Even silly things, like ordering pizza, give me little stomach flutters when I pick up the phone. There’s no real reason; it’s not like anything bad has ever come from me picking up the phone and talking to someone new (and, sometimes, really good things happen—like pizza gets delivered!), but it still bothers me. I would avoid it completely if I could.
Lots of times, I can avoid picking up the phone and calling. I can text or email or live chat, rather than calling in and talking to a live person. And, especially when what I’m calling to ask about isn’t something that I’m particularly familiar with, I sometimes struggle even knowing exactly what questions to ask. It’s hard when you don’t know what you don’t know, but you want more information.
If you want more information about a possible divorce or custody case, but you’re afraid to just pick up the phone and call, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel intimidated (even though, I promise, we’re all really, really nice here!), and I understand how you’re feeling. In fact, I wrote this entire article just for you, so that you can get the information that you need without calling in—at least, without calling in until you’re ready. (And, if you’d really just prefer not to call in ever, I can help you with that, too!)
I just need to know what my first steps should be. Like, I’m worried that I’m about to face a divorce or custody case, and I need to know what to do now.
You don’t have to call our office to ask about your first steps. I can tell you everything you need to know, right here and right now. Sound like a plan?
I think, in general, that the best thing to do first is to request one of our free books. No matter what your situation, we have a book that will help you figure out your next steps. And it’s free! When you request a copy, we’ll immediately send you a e-book version of one of our popular titles (more on this in a minute), and, if you live in our area, we’ll even mail you a hard cover copy—all totally free. (Don’t worry; we mail in plain white envelopes with no distinguishing marks of any kind, so no one will know what you’re getting in the mail.)
We have four books, all designed to speak to different situations. Just request that one that works for you, and in just a few moments you can read to your heart’s content.
Need more information about divorce in Virginia? Look no further than our most popular title, “What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce.” In it, you’ll learn:
• The 20 things you need to know to live separate under the same roof
• The 13 factors that affect whether you’ll qualify to receive spousal support
• How property is classified and divided in Virginia divorce
• The ten critically important factors that affect how a judge will decide your custody case
• How to determine your exact share of his retirement accounts
• The financial records you MUST be aware of
• The stages of divorce
It’s chock full of tons of valuable information, and you should definitely check it out!
If you or your husband is military (or even retired) and you’re considering divorce, this is the book for you. In it, you’ll learn:
• How military pensions are divided in Virginia (and whether you’ll get any).
• What happens to your military health insurance and benefits.
• Step-by-step information about how divorce in Virginia is handled.
• How property is divided.
• How custody and visitation are handled (especially in cases where there may be a deployment or a change in permanent duty station).
• What financial documents you’ll need (like that LES statement).
• How law like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Post-911 GI bill can affect your divorce.
• How SBP, TSP, BAH and other military-specific things are handled in your divorce.
The Women’s Custody Survival Guide, on the other hand, is a great resource for women facing custody cases. It’s a pretty comprehensive book, designed to teach you how the Virginia courts handle custody and visitation cases. In the book, you’ll learn:
• All about the ten critical statutory factors that the court MUST consider (and you must address) in your custody case.
• How support, custody, and visitation are handled in divorce cases in the circuit court, and how support, custody, and visitation are handled in stand-alone cases in the juvenile and domestic relations court when no divorce action is pending.
• How custody orders are entered and modified.
• How different special issues (like breastfeeding, same-sex relationships, homeschooling, abuse, relocation, and special needs children) affect custody determinations.
• About different alternatives to litigation that can help you avoid having a knock-down, drag-out fight in court.
• How to work with your attorney, guardian ad litems, and custody evaluators on your case.
• What you need to know if you choose to represent yourself, and what to expect in a custody case.
• Whether your family is traditional or non-traditional, whether you’re going through a divorce or only have custody issues to address, you will find answers in this clear, concise, book written to help you move step-by-step through custody cases in Virginia courts.
If you’re considering hiring an attorney (or even representing yourself) in your upcoming divorce or custody case, consider requesting a copy of our newest book, “The Woman’s Guide to Selecting an Outstanding Family Law Attorney.” In it, you’ll learn:
• The questions you should be asking an attorney in an initial interview.
• How attorneys are ranked (so you can tell the good from the bad).
• Your divorce options (including do it yourself, in case you decide NOT to hire an attorney at all!)
• 6 easy ways to save money on your attorney’s fees.
• What your first steps should be!
Okay, I got a book. What should I do next? I’m still not ready to call.
Second, you should consider attending one of our monthly divorce seminars. Each one is taught by an attorney, so you can get up to date, Virginia specific information directly from a super reliable source. You can even ask questions (though, keep in mind, it is a group setting and not confidential, so it’s best to keep your questions general, rather than specific). Let’s face it—you know full well that there’s something that is keeping you lying awake at night worrying!
Our seminars (which are officially titled “What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce”) are pretty comprehensive. We teach them three times a month, twice on the Second Saturday of the month in Virginia Beach and Newport News from 8:30am until 10:00am, and once on the Third Tuesday of the month in Virginia Beach from 6:30pm until 8:00pm. The cost to attend is just $40 if you pre-register, or $50 if you prefer to pay at the door.
At the seminar, you’ll learn all about your divorce options, how it works, what you can do to save money, how custody, visitation, support, and assets are handled and divided, and tons more. It’s a great way to start answering the “what should I do?” question.
I got a free book, and I went to the seminar. What next?
At this point, it’s kind of up to you! You can schedule an appointment with an attorney, if you’re ready, and, if not, you can keep on gathering information. Now that you know so much about the divorce process in Virginia, you shouldn’t have a difficult time with these conversations. I know it’s scary anyway—just like it scares me when I call to order a pizza, even though I know full well I love extra cheese.
Give us a call. We’re nice. And we can help give you information even if you don’t know what questions to ask. We do this every single day, so it’s not scary or shocking to us; you can’t tell us anything we haven’t heard before, a million times over.
Still don’t want to make a call? You can book an appointment with us online, or even chat with one of our web greeters. (Go to the page; a live chat link will pop up!) You don’t have to talk to anyone over the phone if you don’t want to. We’ve done everything we can to make it as easy as possible on you.
I know it’s scary, but you’ve got this. You’re going to be fine. You’re in the right place, and you’re asking the right questions. (Or, at least, you’re hinting around the right questions, and I can go on and on to try to answer them without you saying anything else.) For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.