Virginia Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
Family law problems can be confusing and you may have questions. As a seasoned family law attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia, I am ready to provide answers. These are some commonly asked questions I get at the law firm of The Bice Law Group
- What questions can I expect during a consultation with a divorce lawyer?
- What questions will I be asked in court?
- Does the person who files for divorce have an advantage?
- Can a judge deny a divorce in Virginia?
- What things should I not do during divorce?
- Who gets to stay in the house while the divorce is pending?
- What is divorce from bed and board?
- What is the most common custody arrangement in Virginia?
- Can a child decide which parent they want to live with?
As a Lynchburg family law attorney, I ask in-depth questions during consultations so I can fully understand the relationship, financial situation and other key issues in order to develop a comprehensive, personalized divorce strategy.
Most divorces are settled through negotiations or mediation, so you likely will not testify in open court. Should the case to go to trial, my firm makes sure you are well prepared for questions about finances, parenting and other pertinent matters.
Generally, there is no benefit to filing first, though some spouses prefer to control when the process starts rather than waiting to be served papers. The important thing is that you have the information and legal support you need to protect your interests no matter who files the papers.
Most Virginia divorces are filed on a no-fault basis, so the legal union is broken as long as the parties have irreconcilable differences and have lived apart for the requisite period of time. My firm sees that the necessary procedural requirements are met. When one party seeks a fault-based divorce, it’s possible that a judge might rule that the alleged misconduct was not proven.
While your divorce is pending, it’s critical to remember that any actions you take could be subject to review by the court. Your divorce lawyer can explain about what type of disclosures you need to make regarding financial information and other issues. Don’t try to take matters into your own hands.
If both spouses are on a home’s title, you have to agree who will stay in the residence. Otherwise, it might require a court hearing. Another potential option in a no-fault divorce is an in-home separation in which you both live in the home together, but in separate bedrooms and not as spouses.
A spouse who is a victim of abuse or abandonment can seek a divorce from bed and board, which is similar to a legal separation in that the couple remains wed, but the court can set for terms regarding financial and parenting matters. Virginia does not grant legal separation.
Virginia courts seek to create custody orders that give children significant time with both parents. One parent may have sole physical custody while the other has a visitation schedule. The child can also split time between homes. Regardless of living arrangements, both parents can share decision-making authority.
Can a child decide which parent they want to live with?
Judges have the authority to consider a child’s preference in custody decisions, but can overrule the youth’s wishes. Children 14 and older, who are deemed more mature, may have their preferences weighted more heavily than younger children.