At the Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, we understand that every divorce is unique. Although we handle each case individually, we offer unwavering compassion and dedication by working to get our clients what they deserve. If you are going through a divorce, speak to a dedicated Fairfax, VA divorce attorney to help you understand all of your legal options. You should not have to face this difficult time alone. Call our office at 703-382-5504 to set up a consultation and tell us more about your case.
Whether you have just come to the decision that it is time for a divorce, or you have already had the tough conversation with your spouse and are beginning to work through the steps, a Fairfax Divorce Lawyer can help. We know how hard this decision can be for you and your family. We are here to be your trusted advocate and will fight for your best interests every step of the way.
Divorce Representation Made Simple
Divorce does not have to be complicated – no matter your situation. Couples who haven’t been married long, have accumulated relatively little property, and would like to pursue an uncontested divorce will be pleasantly surprised at how simple the divorce process can be. Even couples with a bit more complicated of a situation can feel confident that the right representation can help make the divorce process as pain-free as possible. If you are facing a possible divorce and want to know what the process will look like for you, contact us right away.
Divorce Attorney In Fairfax, Virginia
We are here to help both families and individuals who are facing the prospect of divorce. No matter your situation, and what your family looks like, we will be your trusted advocate, and you can be confident knowing that we will always fight for your rights and your best interests.
When it comes to your future and your family we understand just how much is on the line for you. Divorce is well-known to be one of the most stressful events a person can go through in their life. But you don’t have to face it alone. We will be by your side throughout the entire process to make sure your best interests are always a priority. One mistake in the divorce process can cause heartache and stress — both emotional and financial. An experienced Fairfax divorce lawyer will be able to prevent these mistakes and make sure the process goes as smoothly as it possibly can.
In the state of Virginia, divorces can either be fault-based or no-fault depending on the circumstances. In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must be able to prove that the divorce is the fault of the other spouse. Situations such as adultery, cruelty, and willful abandonment could all be grounds for a fault-based divorce. No-fault divorces, however, are much more common. In order to proceed with a no-fault divorce, Virginia law does require that the spouses have been living separately for one year (or six months provided they have a separation agreement and no minor children) prior to starting divorce proceedings.
The hard reality is that the whole process of getting a divorce, from filing paperwork to appearing in court and facing a judge, to adequately advocating for your rights is complicated and emotionally draining. Most people find that trying to teach themselves family law during such a stressful time in their life is just way too much to handle. The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC is here to help guide you through the process and to give you peace of mind knowing that your rights will be fought for.
Why do I need a Fairfax Divorce Lawyer?
If you are searching for a Fairfax Divorce Lawyer, then the unfortunate reality is that you are already facing what could be one of the most emotional and stressful periods of your life. Getting a divorce is not always an easy decision and one that should not be taken lightly. This is why it is crucial that you have an experienced Fairfax Divorce Lawyer on your side.
We are here to help you through each step in the process. In addition, you will have 24/7 access to your file through our secure client portal so you always know what is going on in your case. Our firm takes the mystery out of the legal process by explaining developments in your case in plain English, not “legalese.” We have extensive experience handling all types of divorce and we will be able to help with your divorce no matter what it involves:
- Uncontested Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Military Divorce
- Same Sex Divorce
- Federal Employee Divorce
- Property Division
- Spousal Support
- Child support
How to Get a Divorce in Virginia
Virginia recognizes both fault and no-fault divorces. The process to initiate a divorce varies depending on whether one of the spouses is legally to blame for the dissolution of the marriage.
What Is a No-Fault Divorce?
Virginia courts will grant a “no-fault” divorce when both spouses agree that they want to terminate their marriage and neither spouse is specifically at fault. To get a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must separate for six months, or twelve months if you have minor children.
According to Virginia Code § 20-91(A)(9)(a), a divorce may be granted on the application of either party when they have lived “separate and apart” without interruption for one year, or six months with a written separation agreement, if there are no minor children “either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other or adopted by both parties”.
Living separate and apart typically means that one spouse has moved out of the marital residence, although in rare cases a court may find that spouses were living separate and apart, even under the same roof. Some couples choose to enter into a separation agreement to set forth each party’s rights and responsibilities during the period of their separation, but this is not required under Virginia law, unless the parties are requesting a divorce on the basis of a six-month separation.
After the grounds for a no-fault divorce have been established, one or both spouses may initiate the process to file for divorce. The spouse who is petitioning for divorce begins the process by filing a complaint in the Virginia court in a district where at least one of the spouses lives. The filing party should work with an experienced attorney to ensure the documents are drafted and filed properly. However, it is typically advisable that he or she begin working with an experienced attorney well before this stage.
The complaint and summons must then be served on the defendant, which generally requires the plaintiff to hire a process server, although alternative methods of service are also available.
Fault Grounds for Divorce
The difference between a fault and no-fault divorce is establishing the grounds for divorce. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse must have committed an act that establishes a ground for divorce. In a fault divorce, the injured spouse may file for divorce immediately upon any of the following events:
- Conviction of a felony and confinement
- Cruelty or physical threats
- Desertion or abandonment
Fault divorces generally follow the same process for filing and serving the spouse, but they often require additional proof. Although filing a divorce on fault grounds can be more legally complex, it is often in the injured spouse’s best interest to finalize the divorce on a specific fault ground because it will likely negatively impact the offending spouse’s ability to receive spousal support or marital assets.
What Are the Virginia Divorce Requirements?
In addition to the process stated above, there are a few additional requirements to file for a divorce in Virginia. First, there is a residency requirement, which means at least one of the spouses has to have lived in Virginia for at least six months before either can properly file for divorce.
The divorce papers must establish the grounds for divorce, whether it be no-fault or one of the fault grounds. The plaintiff spouse must pay all necessary filing fees and ensure the papers are properly served. The requirements for divorce somewhat vary depending on whether a divorce is contested or uncontested.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
Sometimes, spouses are able to reach an agreement as to the division of assets, child custody and support, and spousal support. In these cases, the spouses will generally enter into a separation agreement, also called a marital settlement agreement, and at the end of the legal waiting period, they can typically quickly finalize their divorce. An uncontested divorce does not require a full trial, which typically means they go more smoothly than contested divorces.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
Contested divorces are usually more complicated. When the spouses cannot agree on one or more points, then the issues must be tried in court. Common disagreements that lead to contested divorces are:
- Whether one spouse is actually at fault
- How to divide marital assets
- Whether one of the spouses is entitled to spousal support
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
When proving any of these issues in court, the parties must introduce evidence to support their position. Because contested divorces often lead to mediation or even a full-scale trial, the parties will likely need to retain an attorney to represent them to ensure all of the procedural and evidentiary requirements are met.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
Unlike separation, where the spouses remain legally married despite living apart, divorces are a permanent dissolution of the marriage, so it usually takes time to do it correctly. The length of time a divorce will take to finalize will vary depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Though there are no legal waiting periods (aside from the six or twelve-month requirement to live separate and apart) an uncontested divorce can take several weeks to a few months after the initial filing to work its way through the courts. A contested divorce, on the other hand, can take years, especially if one of the spouses appeals the outcome.
It’s never too early (or too late!) to talk to a Fairfax, Virginia Divorce Lawyer
It is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney as early as possible. Starting the divorce process without having a full understanding of your rights and the steps involved is an incredibly common mistake. Working together from the very beginning will give us the best opportunity to create a plan and make important decisions prior to starting proceedings.
With all that being said, if you are further along in the divorce process, an experienced Fairfax divorce lawyer will still be able to help. If you have already started to work out some of the details with your spouse and then realized this process may be too complicated to work out on your own, give us a call right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get a quick divorce in Virginia?
The fastest way to get a divorce in Virginia is to get an uncontested divorce. If both spouses agree on the different terms of a divorce, then it is possible for it to be uncontested. It is important to keep in mind, however, that Virginia law does require that a couple be separated for one year (or six months if they have a separation agreement and no children under the age of 18) before divorce proceedings can begin.
What can you not do during a divorce?
There are a lot of things you should avoid doing while you are going through a divorce, but some of the most important include:
- Hiding information from your attorney
- Talking about your divorce on social media
- Incurring new debts (particularly joint debts)
- Speaking ill of your spouse
- Putting your children in the middle of any disputes
How much does a divorce lawyer cost in VA?
The cost of a divorce lawyer will depend on their fee structure. Many divorce lawyers will charge an hourly rate for their services, which is not in the best interests of the client since there is no motivation for the lawyer to resolve the case quickly. At the Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC however, we charge a flat fee for divorces (both uncontested and contested) which helps us ensure that our client’s best interests always align with our own.
How do I choose a divorce lawyer?
As soon as it is clear to you that a divorce might be on the horizon, you should reach out to a divorce lawyer. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney right at the beginning of the divorce process will help make sure that no mistakes are made, and that your best interests are always taken into consideration.
Deciding on which divorce lawyer will represent you is an incredibly important step in the divorce process. You want to be confident that your lawyer has a lot of experience and will always fight for your best interests. When talking to potential lawyers, here are a few questions you can ask to make sure you are getting the best representation possible:
- Is your practice devoted to family law?
- Do you have experience with divorces that have similar circumstances to mine?
- What are your fees?
- How will you communicate the status of my case with me?
When should you consult a divorce lawyer?
You should contact a divorce lawyer as soon as it becomes clear to you that you and/or your spouse have decided divorce is the next step. The earlier you speak with an experienced attorney, the better off you will be. A divorce lawyer will help make sure that every step is followed to the letter and that no mistakes are made that could potentially cost you financially or emotionally.
Call a Fairfax Divorce Attorney
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, it is helpful to have the counsel of an experienced Fairfax, VA divorce lawyer by your side throughout the process. Attorney Chowdhury has represented countless clients in the Northern Virginia area in all types of family law matters, and she provides each client with the care and attention their case deserves. Call our office at 703-382-5504 for a confidential case evaluation.