Although there is no one correct way to get divorced, there are going to be emotional choices that can make the process stressful and difficult, and no one should have to go through the process alone. An experienced attorney can guide you through this process and streamline this emotional time for you.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Prince William, you should contact a knowledgeable Prince William divorce attorney that can help you make the best decisions for your emotional and financial future.

Considerations

For those filing in Prince William, one of the parties must have lived in Virginia for at least six continuous months immediately prior to applying for the divorce in order for Virginia to have jurisdiction over the divorce. In addition to the jurisdictional requirement, there must be grounds for the divorce, and there are different grounds depending on the type of divorce. These considerations can depend on whether there was one of several fault-based grounds that caused the dissolution of the marriage.

Divorce based on fault grounds in Virginia can be based on adultery, cruelty, or desertion. These types of divorces must be proven by substantial evidence shown in order to be granted on the fault based grounds, and in some cases, courts will not grant fault-based divorces even when strong evidence exists.

The more common basis for filing divorce is not on grounds of fault, but rather based on the parties having been separated for the minimum amount of time required by law for purposes of filing divorce. For parties with a complete and executed settlement agreement and no minor children, there must be a continuous six-month separation in order to get a divorce. For parties with minor children or any issues that remain to be resolved in their divorce case, the required separation period is one year. A divorce attorney in Prince William is essential in that case to make sure all considerations are being taken.

Process of Filing

After ensuring that Virginia courts have jurisdiction to hear someone’s divorce case, and which grounds they may have on which to file, the court proceeding can be commenced. The initial document that is filed is a complaint of divorce, to which the responding spouse can file an answer within a specific period of time. There are various stages of the process including discovery. The process to learn information about the spouse’s case, assets, and potential evidence. Regardless of whether their case is resolved by the judge at a trial, or in some form of settlement negotiations, the court will enter a final order of divorce so long as grounds for divorce have been sufficiently established. The life of a divorce case in the court system can be as short as a couple of months or as long as several years.

Complications

Disagreements regarding the division of marital assets are the most common complications that occur when getting a divorce, especially if one spouse owns more assets or the wealth is unequally divided between the spouses. For example, one spouse may be financially dependent on the other or one spouse may have contributed separate property to the acquisition of marital property. Determinations regarding alimony and child support can become complicated as well, depending on each party’s work history, ability to work, and whether the parties are employed to their potential. While the law provides certain guidelines regarding determination of support, these issues can be substantially more complicated than many realize and develop into litigation over the actual income of a party or what a party’s income should be for purposes of calculating support.

Advice to Divorcing Parties

The best advice an experienced Prince William divorce attorney will give their client is to not let their emotions or the heat of the moment blind them to the longer term impacts and potential outcomes of their divorce. It is important not to take drastic steps that will have legal repercussions just to send the message to their spouse or to try to make their point. They should think their options through and discuss everything with their attorney before taking any kind of extreme action with respect to their case or their family. Maintaining flexibility and allowing themselves to be open minded even in emotionally charged situations will most likely save them time and money and make the process easier on everyone involved.

The most important thing that someone can do to ensure their divorce runs as smoothly as possible is to speak to an attorney before they begin the legal process so that they have a coherent understanding of what the process will entail as well as what the consequences and effects of their divorce could be on them and their family. It is also important for them to understand the various available ways for resolving issues involved in their divorce, such as negotiation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigation. Those who become informed about their rights and the various options available for resolution of a case tend to have a better overall experience in handling their divorce.

Working with a Lawyer

Divorces may seem simple when you are initially thinking about them but they are complex legal procedures and the final divorce order is, although it can change in some instances, hard to change, or impossible to change in some instances. As a result, it is important to put careful thought into which goals you seek to achieve in your case, and to make sure that you present all of the evidence that a judge or an arbitrator will need to see in order to make the best possible decisions in your divorce proceedings at the initial proceedings. Seeking a family law attorney to talk through those decisions with you can provide invaluable insight to use throughout the legal process.

It is especially helpful with issues involving custody and child support to understand the legal guidelines that the judge will use to make rulings on those issues when you are negotiating towards a settlement agreement. A family lawyer can help you be informed about all these guidelines and can assist you in using that information to its fullest potential during the legal process.