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Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Family Law

Do you have a lot of questions about how divorce and family law work in Virginia? If so, you are not alone. There is a lot at stake and it’s important to understand the system and your rights to reach the best result.

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive at Williams Stone, PC.

What Does “Equitable Distribution” Of Property Mean In A Virginia Divorce?

“Equitable” is a legal term meaning fair. When it comes to the division of property in divorce, Virginia follows the equitable distribution system, as do most states. Spouses must divide their marital assets, which are most things acquired during the marriage and can keep nonmarital assets for themselves. The law does not require them to split the marital property precisely 50-50. Instead, the division must simply be reasonably fair to each party.

What’s The Difference Between A Prenuptial Agreement And A Postnuptial Agreement?

Timing is the only difference. A prenuptial agreement is signed before the marriage begins, and a postnuptial agreement is created once the marriage is underway. Both documents are negotiated agreements between spouses that determine how the marital property would be divided up if the couple ever gets a divorce.

How Is Child Custody Determined In A Virginia Divorce?

In all child custody matters, the primary concern is the child’s best interests. When the parents cannot negotiate a custody arrangement, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • The child’s physical, emotional and psychological needs.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The willingness of each parent to maintain a close relationship with the child and actively support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse

Depending on the particular circumstances, the court could award sole physical custody to one parent and reserve visitation rights for the other or have the parents share joint custody. Whatever the custody schedule, a child’s biological parents almost always share legal custody, which is the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing.

How Is Child Support Determined In Virginia?

The law uses a formula based on factors like each parent’s gross income, the child custody arrangement and how many children are involved, to determine child support. However, this is just a guideline. Several exceptions exist that allow a parent to seek a higher or lower payment.

Make An Appointment To Learn More

To learn more detailed information about divorce, contact our legal team at Williams Stone, PC, which has more than 70 years of collective experience in Virginia family law. To schedule a consultation, call 540-643-9260 or send us an email. We are located in Stafford and serve clients across northern Virginia.