Lynchburg, VA Family Law Attorneys
Family law is considered a complex area of law due to its unique blend of legal, emotional, and interpersonal elements. Whether it is divorce, child custody, alimony, or child support, family law cases can be emotionally distressing and the outcome can have significant and long-lasting consequences for the parties involved.
At the Pack Law Group, we know that family law cases are deeply personal and emotionally charged. If you are planning to file for divorce or if you are involved in a child custody, alimony, or child support-related dispute with your spouse, we can represent you, protect your rights, and provide you with the legal counsel, guidance, and emotional support you need during this trying time. Talk to one of our top-rated Lynchburg, VA family law attorneys today to find out how we can help you.
Filing for a No-Fault Divorce in Virginia
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage due to the fact that you have grown apart and no longer wish to be together, you can file for a no-fault divorce.
In order to file for a no-fault divorce in Virginia, you and your spouse must have lived separately and apart from each other for a period of time – which can be 6 months or 12 months – depending on the circumstances.
- If you do not have any minor children and if you have signed a separation agreement, six months of separation is required before you can file for a divorce.
- On the other hand, if you have minor children or if you have not signed a separation agreement, 12 months of separation is required before you can file for a divorce.
Filing for a Fault-Based Divorce in Virginia
If you want to end your marriage due to your spouse’s misconduct, you can file for a fault-based divorce. According to Section 20-91 of the Code of Virginia, the grounds of misconduct based on which you can file for a fault-based divorce are:
- Desertion or abandonment
- Cruelty (involving physical and/or emotional harm)
- Felony conviction with a prison sentence of at least one year
It should be noted that fault-based divorces tend to be highly contested, and it is extremely important for you to have a skilled and resourceful Lynchburg, VA divorce attorney on your side. The family law attorneys at the Pack Law Group have extensive experience in handling fault-based divorces and we are prepared to fight aggressively to protect your spousal and parental rights as well as financial interests.
Property division in Virginia is based on the principle of equitable distribution. It means your marital property will be divided fairly and equitably – which does not necessarily mean equally.
Marital property generally includes all the assets and debts you and your spouse acquired during your marriage – regardless of who holds the title. Separate property, on the other hand, includes property acquired before marriage, gifts, and inheritances.
The court usually considers a number of factors – including the financial needs of each spouse, the earning capacity of each spouse, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, and each spouse’s contribution towards the marital property – to determine how the assets and debts should be divided.
Under Virginia law, alimony or spousal support refers to the financial assistance provided by one spouse to the other. Alimony can be rehabilitative (to be paid for a specific period of time) or permanent (to be paid until the other spouse dies or remarries).
Factors that the court takes into consideration while determining alimony include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Financial needs and resources of the spouses
- The standard of living that the spouses enjoyed during the course of their marriage
- Age, physical health, and mental health of the spouses
- Education, skills, training, employment history, and earning capacity of each spouse
- Contributions (financial and otherwise) each spouse made to the marriage
If it’s a fault-based divorce, the misconduct of the defendant (the at-fault spouse) can also influence the decision of the court regarding alimony.
It’s critical to note that if you and your spouse have signed a valid and legally enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will uphold the terms of the agreement (including the terms that specify the amount of alimony to be paid) – except in cases where the terms are deemed unfair.
Under Virginia law, child custody can be classified into two categories – legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s authority to make important decisions about their child’s upbringing – including decisions related to the child’s education, healthcare, religion, and general welfare. Legal custody can be awarded to one parent (sole legal custody) or both parents (joint legal custody) – depending on the circumstances.
Physical custody pertains to where the child resides. It can be awarded to one parent (sole physical custody) or both parents (joint physical custody). In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child usually lives with both parents on an alternating weekly or monthly basis (one week on, one week off, or one month on, one month off). Virginia law allows parents to create their own joint physical custody arrangement depending on their specific needs and circumstances – as long as the arrangement is in the best interests of their child.
How Does the Court Determine the Best Interests of the Child?
The guiding principle in determining child custody and visitation in Virginia is the best interests of the child. The court takes a wide range of factors into account in order to determine the best interests of the child. These include the child’s age, the child’s physical and mental health, the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide a stable and loving environment for the child to grow up in, whether there is any history of neglect, abandonment, abuse, or domestic violence by either parent and many more.
Do Courts in Virginia Favor Mothers over Fathers in Child Custody Cases?
No. Virginia law is gender-neutral when it comes to issues of child custody and visitation. Courts make child custody decisions only based on what they believe to be the best interests of the child in question.
Legal Help Is Available from Trusted Family Law Attorneys in Lynchburg, Virginia
At the Pack Law Group, we have a team of highly skilled family law attorneys who can assist you with a wide range of family law issues – from divorce to child custody and visitation, alimony, child support, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, paternity claims, adoption, modification of alimony, child custody, visitation, and child support orders, and more.
When it comes to family law, we believe that each case is unique and each client’s goals are one-of-a-kind. It is why we personalize our approach and strategies to fit your specific needs. We will talk to you, learn about your situation, find out what your goals are, and devise the right strategies to achieve the best outcome possible.
Call us today at 540-586-7225 or get in touch with us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced attorney.
Let our legal team carry your legal burden.