Divorce Attorneys Serving Northern Virginia
Oftentimes the most overwhelming aspect of a divorce is not knowing what to expect. At the Safi, Duran & Chim, PLLC, you will begin to feel peace of mind as early as your first consultation. Our attorneys will provide you with a roadmap of exactly what to expect and discuss what options are available to you. In Virginia, there are several different options available to you when pursuing a divorce:
Uncontested No-Fault Divorce
With the execution of a Property Settlement Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement between both spouses, one can obtain a divorce in Virginia without ever having to appear in Court. This process requires the signing of a Property Settlement Agreement by both spouses, to resolve all issues related to their divorce, which can be accomplished by negotiation between the parties, negotiation between their attorneys, mediation, or a combination of all the above. Even with a signed Property Settlement Agreement, Virginia does have a waiting period to file for divorce, which differs depending on whether the parties have minor children or not. Obtaining an uncontested, no-fault divorce is oftentimes the most cost-effective way to obtain a divorce. Unfortunately, this option is not available to parties who cannot agree between themselves.
No-Fault Contested Divorce
When the one-year statutory separation period has been met, even without an Agreement between the spouses, the parties can file a no-fault divorce in Virginia based on separation for a period in excess of one year. Since the parties were not able to reach an agreement amongst themselves, this option requires a Court proceeding so that the Judge can decide the various issues between the parties and award them a divorce.
Fault-Based Contested Divorce
If the parties have fault grounds to file for divorce, they may do so immediately, without the requirement that they be separated for a period over one year. Fault grounds in Virginia, include adultery, actual or constructive desertion and abandonment and cruelty. There is a number of affirmative defenses one can make if allegations of fault are made against him/her.
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Issues in a Divorce
If a divorce is litigated or when negotiating a Property Settlement Agreement, a number of different issues need to be considered and decided. The issues in a divorce include but are not limited to:
grounds for divorce;
the division of assets and debts (the said process is called "equitable distribution"), which includes the division of the marital residence and businesses;
the division of retirement accounts (including military pensions);
child support; and
Our attorneys have years of experience handling matters where either spouse is a member of the military or a government employee. Contacting the right attorney to help with a military divorce is crucial to ensure all your rights are protected.
If you and your spouse signed a Prenuptial Agreement, prior to getting married, and all issues related to assets and spousal support are resolved in the Prenuptial Agreement, then you can also file an uncontested no-fault divorce upon meeting the statutory period required to file, on the basis that nothing further remains for the Court to decide. If you are planning to get married, a Prenuptial Agreement or Premarital Agreement is often recommended to avoid costly litigation in the event your marriage does not work out. At Safi, Duran & Chim, PLLC, we can negotiate and draft a Prenuptial Agreement for you.
Oftentimes as part of the divorce process, a spouse may wish to resume the use of their maiden or former name. You have the option of doing this as part of the divorce process, which is very simple. You can also change your name at any point after the divorce.
If you're considering a divorce, need help with a name change, or need help with a prenuptial agreement, it's important to contact an attorney early on so that your rights are protected.