Lynchburg & Forest, Virginia Divorce Attorneys
One of the most complicated legal actions in which you may ever be involved is that of a divorce. To be sure, divorce can be expensive, emotional, drawn out, and difficult to resolve – after all, divorcing couples aren’t always the most amicable.
But while divorce may not be something you planned for, and perhaps not even something that you want, understanding how the divorce process works if separation is inevitable is critical. At the Straw Law Firm, our experienced Virginia divorce lawyer has been representing clients throughout our state for years, and understands how divorce law has evolved over the decades. We can provide you with knowledgeable representation as you start the process of dissolving your marriage. Call us today to learn more.
Virginia Divorce Defined
Unlike other states in the nation, which recognize divorce as a legal dissolution of the marriage that leaves each party legally single, the state of Virginia recognizes two types of divorce:
- Divorce from bed and board; and
- Divorce from the bond of matrimony.
Divorce from the bond of matrimony is the typical divorce that most people think of when they use the term ‘divorce.’ When a divorce from the bond of matrimony case is concluded, each party will be legally separated and independent from their spouse, and will retain the right to remarry whomever they’d like as such.
A divorce from bed and board, on the other hand, is a qualified divorce where couples are legally separated, and have a separation agreement to address things like property division, but are not permitted to remarry. Those who initially seek a divorce from bed and board can later ask the court to merge the divorce into a full and absolute divorce from the bond of matrimony at a later point.
Grounds for Divorce in Virginia
Just as there are two types of divorce in Virginia, so are there multiple grounds for divorce in our state. These grounds include:
- Divorce from bed and board. In order to seek a divorce from bed and board, a party must prove that their spouse has either:
Willfully deserted or abandoned them; or
- Committed cruelty to the point that there is a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.
- Divorce from the bonds of matrimony. Divorce from bed and board is designed to allow the victim of the at-fault spouse’s behavior to immediately file for divorce without having to fulfill any waiting period. In order to seek a divorce from the bonds of matrimony, on the other hand, one of the grounds that must be established include:
- Separation/no-fault divorce – spouses can lawfully seek divorce from one another without having to prove the fault of the other party if the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a time period of at least one year;
- Conviction of a felony – if a spouse is convicted of a felony and sentenced to an incarceration period longer than one year, then the other spouse can file for divorce; or
- Adultery, sodomy, or buggery – in order to file for divorce on any of these three grounds, the filing spouse must have actual proof of the adultery, sodomy, or buggery; speculation is not sufficient.
Our Virginia Divorce Practice Areas
Once the grounds for divorce have been established and one party in the marriage has initiated the divorce process by filing a petition for divorce and ensuring the other spouse is served, there are various issues in a divorce which must be resolved. Our lawyers have experience representing clients in out-of-court negotiations and divorce litigation, and can guide you through the following:
- Child custody. Child custody is often one of the hardest issues on which to reach an agreement in a divorce case. Parents are encouraged to work together to create a plan for custody that puts the best interests of the child first, and accounts for various elements of child custody (such as how time will be split, who will be responsible for transportation, who will make decisions about the child’s upbringing, how disputes will be resolved, etc.). If parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court will intervene, basing a decision on the best interests of the child.
- Child support. Because both parents have an obligation to support their child financially, a court will assume that a custodial parent is already satisfying this obligation, and that a noncustodial parent must satisfy this obligation by making child support payments.
- Property division. Like child custody, property division is another notoriously contentious issue in a divorce case. Again, parties are encouraged to work together to reach a property division agreement; if an agreement cannot be reached, property and debts will be divided by the court in a manner that a judge finds to be equitable.
- Alimony/spousal support. There are many marriages in which one spouse relies on the other for financial support, often providing various household or childcare services instead of working outside of the home. What’s more, there are also situations where, even when both parties work outside of the home, one spouse makes significantly more than the other, raising costs of living–and standards of living–for both. When this is the case, and the lesser-earning spouse is unable to support themselves post-divorce, alimony, also called spousal support, may be appropriate.
Our goal is to work with you to help you and your spouse reach an agreement outside of court, rather than having to litigate your divorce case. We always prioritize your best interests and advocate for the best possible outcome.
Call Our Virginia Divorce Lawyers at the Straw Law Firm Today
To learn more about the process of getting a divorce in Virginia and why working with a lawyer is always a wise idea, even if you and your spouse are in agreement about the terms of a divorce, please call our team at the Straw Law Firm today. We are ready to help you navigate the legal elements of filing for divorce and offer you support along the way. We know that divorce is hard – we are here to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible.
Please call our compassionate and experienced Virginia Divorce Lawyer today at (434) 595-3581, send us a message, or visit our law office in person.