Highly-Rated Fairfax Divorce Lawyer
Divorce Lawyers with Over 50 Years of Combined Experience in Virginia Family Law
When you and your spouse choose to get divorced, there are a few initial decisions you will have to make before the process begins. For one, you will need to choose a competent divorce lawyer that can handle contested or uncontested divorces in Fairfax.
At Keithley Law, PLLC, we have more than 50 years of combined experience representing all types of divorce cases, including contested and uncontested and fault or no-fault divorces.
Common Issues in Divorce
All marriages are different, meaning all divorce cases will be different as well. Generally, the issues that arise from divorce include the following:
The Fairfax divorce attorneys from Keithley Law, PLLC can help you sort out the issues related to your divorce.
Whatever direction your case may take, the Fairfax divorce attorneys at Keithley Law, PLLC are here to support you. Contact us now! We're ready to handle your contested or uncontested divorce case!
VA Residency Requirements for Divorce
To file for divorce in Virginia, you must meet the minimum residency requirements.
- One of the parties must have been a state resident for at least six months prior to filing a divorce petition.
- You will also need to make sure you meet Virginia's venue provisions for which local court can preside over your divorce.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?
Next, you must have a reason for the divorce or meet the separation period if you're filing for a divorce on no-fault grounds. There are different grounds for divorce in Virginia, but generally, the most common grounds are the following:
No-fault divorce and having lived separate and apart for at least a year, sometimes even under the same roof, and you're not alleging that the other party is at "fault" for the divorce, just that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
- Physical cruelty
- Abandonment or desertion
- Adultery, sodomy, or buggery
- Felony conviction in very specific circumstances
Does Virginia Have a Divorce "Waiting Period?"
To help spouses avoid filing for divorce without thinking about the consequences of divorcing, the Virginia Legislature implemented a waiting period, also known as a “cooling-off period” before courts can finalize divorces.
What is the Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce?
- A contested divorce is where two parties cannot come to a complete agreement to resolve any issues for a specific situation (property, custody, child support, spousal support).
- In an uncontested divorce, both parties can agree on all of the following topics, meaning that the case was fully resolved through a written and signed agreement by both parties and all that's pending is for a judge to decree the parties divorced.
What Is the Virginia Divorce Process?
To help you obtain your Final Divorce Decree, in which a court orders you and your spouse finally divorced, you’ll need to do a few things:
- You must file and serve a Complaint (or obtain a written waiver for service) to initiate the divorce and provide a VS-4 statistical form that goes to Virginia's Vital Statistics office.
- If your divorce is contested, you and your spouse will need to go to court to divide your assets and property, decide on spousal support, decide on visitation, custody, and support if you have children. You can negotiate all of these issues if you can get to a fully resolved written agreement signed by both parties.
- You must meet the state requirements. To obtain a Final Divorce Decree in an uncontested case, you must provide testimony, making sure the jurisdiction, notice, and waiting periods are met, and you and a corroborating witness answer certain questions in court or through written affidavit regarding the residency, having met the cooling-off period without any reconciliation, and that the service requirements have been met.
- The judge or law clerk will review the items above and if you’ve satisfied all of the elements, a judge will sign the Final Decree of Divorce.
Is Virginia a 50/50 Divorce State?
No, Virginia is not a 50/50 divorce state. Instead, Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning the judge will divide marital property fairly but not equally.
The judge will consider several factors when deciding how to divide assets, including:
- The length of the marriage.
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including but not limited to financial contributions, homemaking, and childrearing.
- The earning capacity of each spouse.
- The needs of any dependent child.
- The assets and debts of each spouse.
- Any other factors that the judge deems relevant.
It is important to note that the judge is not required to divide assets equally, even if the marriage lasted for a long time and both spouses contributed equally to the marriage.
Instead, the court in Fairfax County will only divide assets fairly, which may mean one spouse receives more assets than another.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
A contested, fault-based divorce in Virginia is much more expensive, and time-consuming than an uncontested divorce and no-fault divorce. Contested and fault-based divorces can result in higher court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses. In addition, contested divorces are fought in court which makes it harder for everyone involved, including your children. You may also have to hire experts, including child custody experts, valuation experts, and vocational experts.'
Keithley Law, PLLC can often settle the more challenging cases and avoid the need for expensive long-drawn-out litigation in divorce. Our lawyers can get the outcomes in court if opting for a settlement isn’t in your best interest.
Keithley Law, PLLC, is fully dedicated to resolving disputes fairly. However, our Fairfax divorce attorney understands this isn’t always possible.
Keithley Law, PLLC has the legal knowledge and the skills to protect your rights during litigation. Once the opposite side often understands that our lawyers won’t take anything less than a fair resolution and isn’t afraid to take the case to trial, they significantly improve the proposal for a settlement as the trial date draws near.
Contact our Fairfax Divorce Attorneys Today
Whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement resulting in an uncontested divorce or you have constant conflicts, our contested & uncontested divorce lawyer in Fairfax is here to help guide you.
Our Fairfax divorce lawyers have built a reputation for our ability to settle divorce cases no matter the complexity. Our firm is committed to making the divorce process as easy on you as possible.