Family law embodies the court procedures, rules, and regulations that impact families, including dissolving marriages, reproductive rights, adoption, and custodial rights. In most cases, the parties are emotional, stressed, and often overwhelmed by the life changes and difficult decisions that are ahead.
It is important in that situation to have a Fairfax family lawyer that is able to help you figure out what is most important to you and to adjust the legal strategies with your shifting priorities. If you have a familial matter that requires legal attention in Fairfax County, contact a knowledgeable local attorney in Virginia to help you reach your goals.
Before parties decide to dissolve a marriage, they will often choose to separate to determine if divorce is the best option for them. In Virginia, the parties are required to be separated for at least six months if they have no minor children and one year if there are minor children of the parties. When separating, they may elect to enter into a separation agreement, which memorializes what each party agrees to during the separation.
A marital agreement can divide property and assets, establish custodial arrangements and child support payments, and make arrangements for debt repayment. Other necessary provisions can be included in or excluded by a family law attorney in Fairfax from the separation agreement as the parties see fit.
It is important that the parties both consult separate legal counsel when drafting a settlement agreement to ensure that each person’s interests are considered and represented or knowingly excluded.
Child Custody and Child Support
There are few experiences that are more emotionally driven than reaching custodial decisions about children and determining the financial responsibilities of the parents when that decision is made. Child custody is determined by the best interests of the child. In making that determination, the court reviews multiple factors, including, but not limited to, the relationships between the child and each of the parents and, in some circumstances, the child’s wishes.
Child support is determined by the income of both parents because the state requires both parties to be responsible for expenses related to providing for the child.
The amount that the non-custodial parent would be responsible for is dependent on the total gross income of both parties and the number of children that they have together. The amount is divided to determine each party’s fair share based on the percentage of monthly income attributable to the parents, a Fairfax family law attorney can assist in determining this amount.
In Virginia, parties may divorce citing no-fault, cruelty, abandonment, adultery, and/or a felony conviction. Unlike many states, Virginia does permit parties to cite fault as the basis for divorce, which may be considered in divisions of property and/or assets.
One of the divorcing parties must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before they are able to file for divorce in Virginia. When filing for divorce, the filing party can file in the county where they last lived as a couple, in the county where the non-filing party lives, if that party is a Virginia resident, or in the county where the filing party lives, if the other party is not a Virginia resident.
Contacting Legal Representation
If your family is experiencing any kind of situation that would benefit from the services of an experienced lawyer, contact a Virginia family attorney today to begin going through the legal process in a way that serves every member of your family.