Virginia Family Law & Divorce Attorneys
The highly-rated family law and divorce attorneys at Livesay & Myers, P.C. represent clients in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Manassas, Alexandria, Arlington, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and all across Northern Virginia.
Our size and resources allow us to match you with an attorney perfectly suited to meet your needs. Whether you are looking for an aggressive attorney for a volatile divorce or heated custody battle, a more junior lawyer to handle a quick, cheap uncontested divorce, or an experienced attorney for an adoption or other family law matter—we can help.
Our attorneys handle every type of family law matter in Virginia, including separation, divorce, spousal support, equitable distribution, child custody and visitation, child support, protective orders, adoption, premarital agreements and name changes.
Our attorneys have years of experience with contested divorce cases under each of the fault-based grounds in Virginia, including adultery, cruelty (mental or physical), desertion (actual or “constructive”), and felony conviction and confinement in excess of one year. We also handle uncontested divorces, under the no-fault grounds of (1) separation for at least twelve months or (2) separation for at least six months, with a separation agreement and no minor children.
Contested vs. Uncontested. A “contested divorce” is one in which the parties are in disagreement about one or more issues, such as spousal support, child custody or visitation, child support, etc. A contested divorce is not necessarily a fault-based divorce; in fact, many contested divorces are filed on no-fault grounds. An “uncontested divorce” is one in which the parties have no outstanding custody, support, property, or other issues to be resolved. An uncontested divorce is almost always filed on the no-fault ground of separation.
Adultery. The adultery ground requires proof by “clear and convincing evidence” of sexual intercourse outside the marriage. A divorce may also be granted on proof of sodomy or buggery committed outside the marriage. Unlike some other divorce grounds, there is no waiting period before filing on the ground of adultery. Adultery can be very difficult to prove, but if proven may have serious financial implications in the divorce, at least on the issue of spousal support. For more information, including how to prove adultery, defenses to an adultery charge, and impact of adultery in a Virginia divorce, see Adultery and Divorce in Virginia.
Cruelty. The cruelty ground requires proof of “cruelty or reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt.” Acts of physical violence and conduct that endanger the life, safety, or health of one’s spouse will constitute cruelty. Abusive language, humiliating statements, and repeated neglect can also constitute cruelty. While cruelty is typically proven by evidence of a succession of acts, a single act of cruelty is sufficient if it is a very serious act. A spouse’s abuse of alcohol does not constitute cruelty unless it is coupled with other misconduct. A final divorce cannot be granted on the ground of cruelty until one year has elapsed since the acts of cruelty.
Desertion. The desertion or abandonment ground requires proof that a spouse broke off the matrimonial cohabitation with an intent to desert. Desertion does not occur when the husband and wife mutually agree to separate. “Constructive desertion” may be found where a spouse refuses to engage in sexual intercourse, without justification, while also failing to fulfill other significant marital duties. A final divorce cannot be granted on the ground of desertion until one year has elapsed since the desertion or abandonment.
$599 Uncontested Divorce. Our attorneys can process many uncontested divorce quickly, with no court appearance, for a low flat attorney’s fee of $599. The court also charges an $86 filing fee, and an optional $21 filing fee for a name change for the wife (back to her maiden name). To qualify for this $599 uncontested divorce, you must have been separated for the requisite amount of time, have no outstanding marital issues to be resolved, and your spouse must be willing to cooperate fully.
We follow a very streamlined procedure for these uncontested divorces. First, we file the divorce in a friendly jurisdiction which processes such divorces quickly and requires no court appearance. After we submit the initial paperwork to the court, we have your spouse sign a Waiver of Service of Process. Next, we meet with you in one of our offices for your “depositions.” You would need to bring along a witness—any friend, family member or co-worker who is familiar with your living situation. You and your witness would answer some questions under oath, to verify that you have been separated for the required amount of time and that you or your spouse have lived in Virginia for at least six months.
[Note: even if you don’t live anywhere near one of our offices, we can still process your uncontested divorce. Rather than conducting your depositions in person, we would simply e-mail you a set of “written depositions,” which you would complete in front of a notary public and mail back to us.]
Finally, we would submit a final package to the court, including your depositions and a divorce decree. Then, generally within a few weeks after your depositions, we would receive the signed decree back from the court, and you would be divorced!
Spousal Support. Spousal support issues arise in divorces where the parties have been married for a substantial length of time and there is a significant gap in their incomes. In these cases, determination of a proper amount and duration of spousal support (called “alimony” in other states) can become very difficult. Our family lawyers are intimately familiar with the factors considered by courts in establishing spousal support, and with the important tax consequences often intertwined with alimony. For more information, including how courts determine spousal support in Virginia, spousal support guidelines, and the tax consequences of spousal support, see Spousal Support in Virginia.
Equitable Distribution. Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court has the authority in any divorce to classify the property of the parties as separate, marital or hybrid, to distribute any jointly owned marital property between the parties, and to grant a monetary award to either party to ensure an “equitable distribution” of marital property and debts. Our divorce lawyers are experienced with every type of equitable distribution case, including complex and high value cases. For more information, including the distinction between marital and separate property in Virginia, the presumption of marital debt, and marital waste or dissipation of assets, see Equitable Distribution in Virginia.
Military Divorce. Military divorce cases involve a complex intersection of federal and state law, offering special challenges for divorcing servicemembers, spouses, and their attorneys. Led by a former Navy JAG, our attorneys are intimately familiar with the unique issues that arise in these cases. For more information on military divorce, including retired pay, disability pay, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Survivor Benefit Plan and Tricare benefits, see Military Divorce Law in Virginia.
Federal Retirement Division. When facing divorce, both federal civilian government employees and their spouses need to be familiar with how their retirement accounts are structured, funded, and ultimately, how they could be affected by a divorce. Our attorneys have years of experience with separation and divorce cases involving federal civilian government employees. For information on how Virginia courts treat federal retirement benefits in divorce, including Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and Social Security, see Federal Retirement Division in Virginia Divorce.
Unlike many other states, Virginia does not have legal separations granted by courts. However, a husband and wife may enter into a separation agreement, stipulating that they will live separate and apart and divide their property and debts in a mutually acceptable way. These agreements typically include provisions resolving any other outstanding issues of the parties, such as child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support. With such an agreement in place, once the parties have separated and lived apart for the appropriate time (six months with no minor children, twelve months with minor children), either party may then file for an uncontested divorce on the ground of separation. Our attorneys have years of experience in the drafting and negotiation of separation agreements. For more information, see Separation Agreements in Virginia.
Child Custody and Visitation
Our attorneys are veterans of many tough custody battles, fighting on behalf of mothers, fathers and grandparents in custody cases across Northern Virginia. We have expertise both with initial custody determinations and also cases involving relocation of custodial parents or modification of prior court orders. We are also experienced with cases involving home studies, custody evaluators, and guardians ad litem. For more information on Virginia custody and visitation law, including the types of custody in Virginia, relocation, modification, denial of visitation, grandparent custody and visitation, custody evaluators, guardians ad litem and home studies, see Child Custody and Visitation Law in Virginia.
Child support cases in Virginia range from very simple matters involving routine application of the Virginia child support guidelines, to very complex cases involving the imputation of income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Our attorneys are experienced in handling every type of child support case in the courts of Northern Virginia. For more information, including application of the Virginia child support guidelines, what Virginia counts as income, enforcement, voluntary reduction of income and modification of support, see Child Support in Virginia.
The Virginia Code authorizes courts to issue emergency protective orders, preliminary protective orders and protective orders, which are all aimed at “family abuse,” including abuse of household members. Virginia courts can also enter protective orders to protect children from harm, even where the harm does not rise to the level of family abuse. These orders differ from each other; some may be entered more quickly than others, and they all provide different remedies. Our lawyers have years of experience representing both parties in protective order cases. See Protective Orders in Virginia for more information.
Adoption is the process whereby children who have been permanently and legally separated from their birth parents are placed with new parents. The adoptive parents are given the same rights and obligations as biological parents, while the rights and obligations of the biological parents are terminated. Our attorneys have years of experience representing both biological and adopting parents in adoptions across Northern Virginia. For more information on Virginia adoption law, see Adoption in Virginia.
A premarital agreement or “prenup” protects the premarital assets of one or both parties and allows a couple to contemplate the division of assets prior to the marriage. Despite the widely held belief that prenups are only for the rich and famous, a premarital agreement is something that every marrying couple should consider. Our attorneys are experienced in drafting, reviewing and negotiating prenups under Virginia law. See Premarital Agreements in Virginia for more information.
Our Family Lawyers
Livesay & Myers, P.C. has a team of experienced family law attorneys in Northern Virginia, each of them practicing exclusively family law. Be sure to read our client reviews, then examine the profiles of each of our family lawyers to find the one who is the best fit for you.
Winter Consultation Special. For a limited time, schedule an initial one-hour consultation with one of our family lawyers for just $150. Contact us today to take advantage of this discounted rate.