Dissolving a marriage can be an emotionally, physically, and financially draining process that can be made more difficult depending on the reason for divorce. During what is surely a stressful time, it is important to have a family attorney in the Fairfax area that is centered on ensuring that the legal matter is a priority so that you are able to focus on adjusting to the life changes.
If you have filed, will file, or need to respond to a divorce petition in Fairfax, Virginia, contact an experienced Fairfax divorce lawyer to ensure that your best interests are protected.
Grounds for Divorce and Filing
In Virginia, while people may choose to divorce for a multitude of reasons, the legal reasons for divorcing are specific, but broad enough that most reasons can be classified under them. Irreconcilable differences is not a legal term for divorce in Virginia; however, a divorce for that reason may be classified as a no-fault divorce.
Your committed Fairfax divorce attorney can help determine which reason best fits your situation. The reasons for divorce are:
- Separation in excess of six months or one year (depending on the circumstances)
- Felony Conviction with confinement in jail of more than one year
To dissolve a marriage in Virginia, either of the parties must have been a resident of the state for, at least, six months before the date of filing. If the marital union did not result in children, biological or adopted, the parties must have been legally separated for 12 months before the filing date.
Additionally, the parties have three options for appropriately filing for the dissolution of marriage:
- Divorce can be filed in the county where the parties lived before separation
- Divorce can be filed in the county where the non-filing party lives if she or he is a Virginia resident
- Divorce can be filed in the county where the party filing for divorce lives if the other party is not a Virginia resident
A fault divorce occurs when one party alleges that the reason for the divorce is solely based on the conduct of the other party. In Virginia, a party may file for a fault divorce citing abandonment, cruelty, adultery, and/or imprisonment following a felony conviction.
When alleging a fault-based reason for divorce, there must be proof of the allegations for the court to find that there was the fault, such as text messages or photographs that establish adultery, or court documents to establish the felony conviction and subsequent sentencing. If you decide to file for a fault divorce, a proactive divorce lawyer in Fairfax can help you gather the necessary documents to present a well-rounded argument in your favor.
If the court finds that the divorce was the result of the other party’s bad behavior, it could impact the division of property and/or spousal support awards, although there is no obligation that the court does so.
Divorce and Children
When the marriage that is dissolving resulted in children, the court makes the custodial decision based on the best interests of the child. The court has the option of awarding joint custody to both parents or sole custody to one parent.
The decision about which is appropriate is made after considering numerous factors, including, but not limited to, the needs of the child or children, the existing relationship between each of the parents and the child or children, and reasonable preferences of the child or children, depending on their age.
In making that determination the court is permitted to consider an evaluation that is completed by an independent mental health provider. Further, the court’s ruling on custody is not permanent. If the best interests of the child necessitate the initial order being revisited after the divorce is final, it can be.
Consult With A Fairfax Divorce Attorney Today
No one should go through a turbulent time such as a divorce alone. Whatever the reasons may be for wanting to end your marriage, make sure that you have an experienced Fairfax divorce lawyer in your corner to act as your advocate and help you through this difficult transition. Consult with a seasoned attorney at our firm for help with filing a divorce in Fairfax today.