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6 Myths About Separation and Divorce in Virginia - Fairfax Virginia Family Lawyers

Someone has to make decisions on issues regarding children, support, and property. The people in the best position to make these decisions are the parties themselves, although many need help getting there.

In many cases, couples may want to work out the issues they face, but need help doing so. Fortunately, many tools exist to help.

2. How Are Property and Debt Divided at Divorce?

Parties can attend mediation before or after a case is filed in court. A trained and skilled mediator can facilitate communication between parties, and help guide the parties to a resolution. Collaborative law is another option for couples who agree that they want to stay out of court, but need support and guidance to resolve the issues between them.

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In collaborative law, both parties retain separate, specially trained attorneys who work together, rather than against one another, in an effort to help the parties resolve their differences. Fact: Even if you are still living in the same house, and perhaps even sleeping in the same bed, if you are considering divorce or your husband has told you he is considering divorce , you should seek counsel to ensure your rights are protected.

What you do in the short term may have a significant impact on your case in the long term. Fact: If you move out of a shared residence you do not forfeit any rights you may have to the ownership of, or equity in, that residence. Fact: In Virginia, if property is acquired during the marriage , it is presumed to be marital property, and may be considered in the overall division of property by a court, regardless of how it is titled.

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Likewise, if a debt was incurred during the marriage, it is presumed to be a marital debt, and may be allocated between the parties, regardless of titling. Classification of property can be complex, but it is an issue your attorney should discuss with you to make sure you are fully informed about your situation.

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Fact: In Virginia, a lawyer can only ethically represent one person in a divorce proceeding — never both. Both parties in a divorce action should have an attorney to ensure their rights are protected. Before you sign any type of agreement, even an informal one, you should discuss the legal and practical effects of the agreement with your attorney. The choices you make in your separation and divorce may have lasting effects for the remainder of your life, and the lives of your children.


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Consulting with an attorney who focuses on family law can help you to understand your options, and make the best choices for you and your family. In most cases you have to live separately for a year to qualify for a divorce in Virginia. However if you have no minor children and have executed a separation agreement , you can be divorced in six months.


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If you file for divorce based on adultery, you can technically finalize the divorce without the year or six month waiting period, however this may be practically impossible due to the way local courts typically structure their dockets. Many family law attorneys even provide free consultations.

How Long Is the Virginia Contested Divorce Process?

Take everything you've filed with you to your consultation. Occasionally, the rejection information is so vague that it yields no useful clues as to what needs to happen next. In those instances, your only option is to review your documents thoroughly including the instructions you received. If no clear discrepancies stand out, you may need to contact an attorney to assist you further.

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Because DivorceWriter is not a law firm, the laws governing self-help legal products prohibit DivorceWriter from providing legal advice or assisting with amending legal documents. Only an attorney can legally review your paperwork and tell you what needs to be changed. However, this site does not provide legal advice and use of this site is not a substitute for hiring an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

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