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Should I file for divorce? Or custody? Is there an advantage?

I follow up with women who’ve had consults with us – with any of our attorneys, not just the ones who meet with me – after their appointments, just to make sure that they got their questions answered in the appointment. I find that, in a lot of cases, they either forgot to ask something,…

Separate, Reconcile, or Divorce?

Relationships are complicated. I’m sure you already know that. But it does bear mentioning, in any case, because it gets to the root of what we do here. Sometimes, it seems as though it doesn’t make any sense, least of all to us, who know one party only a little and the other not at…

Does mutual abuse exist in domestic violence cases?

I needed a little bit of time to process the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard verdict. And then, after I processed, I needed a little distance, because I just found the whole entire thing so completely upsetting. In the wake of the trial, I’ve read article after article about how the case duped America, how we should…

Can I record a conversation in Virginia?

When tensions start to escalate, and it looks like you might be headed towards a divorce or custody case, it’s tempting to want to use whatever methods are available to you to gather the evidence you might need – up to and including recording conversations. But what’s legal varies pretty dramatically from state to state,…

Domestic Violence in Virginia Military Divorce Cases

A few months ago, I followed the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation case pretty closely. In a lot of ways, to me, it represents the core of what I do at work, and what I’ve come, personally, to care a lot about. In general, we don’t put much faith in the things that women say. You’d…

Domestic Abuse and Divorce

Domestic violence is everywhere. It’s a lot more prevalent than most people think, which is pretty alarming. When I started here, over a decade ago now, as a brand new baby lawyer, I was definitely surprised at how often it really happens. When I speak to women who have suffered from domestic abuse, they often…

If I fear for my safety, can I take my child and go?

  Domestic violence is a very real issue in family law cases; it’s one we brush up against all the time. It was something that surprised me when I first started, because even in the most otherwise normal cases, there were undercurrents of domestic violence. A friend of mine from law school is a prosecutor,…

The Virginia Court System

In the election last month, one of my best friends was elected as prosecutor in her county. (She’s actually the first woman to have been elected in her county, ever – but, for my purposes today, a little beside the point.) It got me doing a little research into the local government and court structure…

Why Would I File A Contested Divorce In Virginia?

In many cases, it’s not necessary to use fault based grounds for divorce. After all, if you file on fault, you’ll have to litigate to prove to the judge that your grounds exist. Because, depending on the grounds, different civil and criminal penalties apply, you’ll have to meet a specific burden of proof, and that…

Domestic Violence and Virginia Protective Orders

Whenever there is domestic violence involved in a case, we advise our clients about protective orders. It’s really one of the only tools in our arsenal available to help protect clients who are at risk from their former partners. On the one hand, it’s just a piece of paper. On the other, it works in…