Divorce, as a legal, financial, and emotional restructuring of the family unit, is inherently complex. This makes it essential to have strong legal representation throughout the process. Without an experienced family law attorney, your rights and the rights of your children, even in an amicable divorce, may not be properly protected. 

In Virginia, wise clients frequently choose to work with Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law who has 30 years of successful outcomes to his credit and is widely recognized as a highly skilled, compassionate advocate for those going through the challenges of divorce.

Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

Both states grant fault-based and no-fault grounds divorces. While no-fault divorce requires that the parties live separately for 12 months, Virginia also allows divorce after a 6-month separation if there are no minor children. In both jurisdictions, fault-based grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Certain criminal convictions (in VA only felonies)

Of course, meeting the grounds for divorce is only the beginning of the divorce procedure. Depending on the nature and duration of the marriage and whether the spouses have minor children together, some or all of the following will have to be carefully considered and written into the divorce agreement:

Marital Assets and Separate Property 

The divorce laws in Virginia, as well as most other states, distinguish between marital assets and separate property. Marital property includes all assets acquired during the marriage, including income, bonuses, pensions, accumulated savings, mutual gifts, and purchases made by either party. 

Separate property, on the other hand, consists of assets acquired before the marriage or received as one spouse’s individual gift, inheritance, or lawsuit settlement. Separate property is viewed as belonging to one spouse alone and will not be divided as part of the marital assets. 

Division of Marital Assets

Both states adhere to the equitable distribution principle, one in which there needn’t be a 50-50 split of marital resources as long as a fair division can be arrived at. Several factors are considered during the division of marital assets, such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Monetary and nonmonetary (e.g. childcare, cleaning, structural repairs)contributions to the marriage 
  • Available resources of each party

Spousal Support

Many decades ago, most families had only one wage earner (usually the husband) and the majority of wives stayed home to take care of their homes and children. At the time, if a divorce occurred, alimony (now known as spousal support) was often necessary, at least temporarily, for the unemployed spouse to survive. 

These days, with most families having two wage earners, spousal support is far from ubiquitous. It may still be awarded if the couple has a very young child (e.g. still nursing), one parent is not capable of earning a reasonable salary without further education or training, or one spouse is elderly and/or ailing. 

The ability of the other spouse to pay alimony is also considered, as is the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage. In some cases, the reason for the divorce may also be considered by the court in determining whether spousal support is appropriate.

Child Custody and the Factors That Affect It

In all states, child custody arrangements are made based on the best interests of the children. Although in most instances the courts prefer joint custody, believing that children do best when interacting with both parents equally, there are many situations in which joint custody isn’t feasible due to the:

  • The location of one parent’s home relative to the children’s school
  • One parent’s work schedule
  • The age, physical, and mental condition of the child
  • The relationship between each parent and their children
  • Each parent’s physical health, mental stability, or substance abuse
  • Any history of child abuse or domestic violence during the marriage

Parenting Time

If, for some reason, one parent is given sole custody of the children, the other parent will be awarded generous parenting time. The noncustodial parent usually gets to spend one or more weekday evenings with the children as well as alternating weekends and some part (or all) of summer vacations and holidays. It should be noted that if there is evidence of substance abuse, domestic violence, or criminal activity on the part of one parent, parenting time may be supervised or even, in rare cases, forbidden.

Child Support

Child support in Virginia is calculated based on a formula considering both parents’ incomes, the number of children each parent has, and each parent’s expenses. The primary aim is to ensure the child’s financial needs are met, covering basic living expenses, healthcare, education costs, and any additional costs for physical/psychological counseling, music, art, or dance lessons, sports activities, and recreational needs.

Domestic Violence

When a marriage has been riddled with domestic violence, painful decisions are even more difficult, and legal intervention becomes even more critical. Our office can assist you by helping you to get a protective order to keep a threatening spouse away from you and your children. We can also find you a safe haven until further protective action is taken. 

During our long tenure in family law, however, we have also known cases of false accusations of domestic violence or child abuse. Such charges may be used to manipulate court decisions on custody or support. If you are being railroaded with a false charge, Randall Borden will fight to defend your rights through a fair hearing.

Negotiated Settlements and Mediation

At Randall Borden, Attorney at Law, we always recommend negotiated settlements or mediation if these are viable tactics in your case. Whenever there is a possibility that a divorce can be settled diplomatically through alternative means instead of through litigation, it is best for all concerned, especially the children. 

It is preferable to settle out of court to avoid high costs, prolonged stress, and the publicity of a public trial. As an empathic family law attorney, Randall Borden prefers to reach amicable solutions wherever possible. 

Our First-Rate Divorce Attorney in Fairfax Will Stand By You Whatever Happens

Divorce can be complicated and painful. Count on Randall J. Borden to streamline the process. He will reduce your anxiety and restore your sense of strength and stability by ensuring that every document, every meeting with opposing counsel, and every one-on-one discussion of your needs is productive. Contact him now so he can begin working to simplify your divorce and support you as you restart your life.