Richmond Family Law Attorneys
Getting a divorce in Virginia is not as difficult as it once was. However, there are still facts which must be proven to obtain a divorce, and legal representation throughout the process is essential to ensure you are treated fairly regarding issues such as the division of marital property, the payment of spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. Once the divorce is final, many of the court orders made by the judge can only be changed by going back to court and proving a material change in circumstances, and some orders can’t be changed at all. The decisions made in a divorce affect you and your children for years to come, so it is critical to get it right from the start. Whether negotiating the terms of a split amicably with your spouse or litigating contested and divisive issues in court, the family law attorneys at the Bender Law Group provide skilled, knowledgeable and effective representation in your Virginia divorce or family law matter.
Divorce in Virginia
Grounds for divorce under Virginia Domestic Relations Law include adultery, cruelty, desertion and abandonment, and incarceration for a felony for more than one year. In order to obtain a divorce in Virginia, the facts justifying these grounds must be proven in court according to the applicable legal standard. Alternatively, couples can obtain a “no-fault” divorce after living separate and apart for more than a year, or six months if the couple do not have any minor children from the marriage and they have resolved issues such as property division and support through a separation agreement or marital property settlement.
The Bender Law Group can advise you on your options for obtaining a divorce or responding to divorce papers filed by your spouse. We provide able and competent representation throughout the entire divorce proceeding, making sure that your rights and interests are respected in the equitable distribution of marital property and the payment or receipt of spousal support. Our Virginia family law attorneys additionally provide strong and effective representation in child custody and visitation and child support matters, regardless of whether the parents are separating, divorcing or were never married at all.
Virginia Child Custody and Visitation Issues
Courts have the power to award sole custody of the children to one parent or to fashion some arrangement of joint custody. Custody matters include both legal custody – the responsibility for a child’s care and the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing – as well as physical custody – the actual physical and custodial care of the child or children.
Although the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia is to encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and each parent when appropriate, child custody and visitation decisions are made in the best interests of the child, as determined by the court. Some of the factors considered by the court include:
- The age and health of the children and parents
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s needs
- The parenting role filled by each parent
- Whether a parent will support the child in having a meaningful relationship with the other parent
- The child’s reasonable preference, given the child’s age and emotional development
- Any history of family abuse or sexual abuse
When judges make custody and visitation determinations in the child’s best interest, they do so on the basis of the evidence put before them by the parents through their attorneys. Our skilled courtroom lawyers know how to build and present a strong, convincing case that reflects your and your child’s needs. We’ll help you work with your co-parent to establish a workable, lasting agreement for custody and visitation, but in cases where agreement is not possible, you will find us to be aggressive and effective advocates in the courtroom.
Help with the Virginia Child Support Guidelines and Modifications
Both parents are required by law to support their children financially. In a split, the court will turn to the Virginia child support guidelines to come up with an amount the noncustodial parent must pay to the parent with primary custody. We can help by making sure all applicable income is reported accurately and completely, as well as any special needs of the child that may justify a deviation from the formula, so the judge can make a fair award of child support. We are also there for you post-divorce if a material change in circumstances leads one of the parents to return to court and seek a modification of the support amount. Changes in either parent’s income or the needs of the child may justify a modification up or down of the initial support amount.
Don’t settle for less when your family is involved. Get sound advice and professional representation from a team of skilled, knowledgeable and successful family law attorneys. In Virginia, contact the Bender Law Group in Richmond at 804-648-8000.