Fairfax Divorce Attorney
Simms Showers LLP is here for you if you are considering filing for divorce or if you have been served with a summons and complaint for divorce filed by your spouse. Important issues are decided in a divorce, with enforceable orders issued by the Fairfax County Circuit Court that will continue to impact you, your pocketbook, and your relationship with your children for years after the divorce is final. Make sure your interests are adequately looked after in the divorce process by letting the Fairfax divorce lawyers at Simms Showers LLP advise you and represent you at every stage of the divorce proceeding.
Learn more below about the important issues decided in a Virginia divorce case, and call Simms Showers LLP with any questions or for immediate help with your Fairfax divorce.
Virginia law requires an equitable distribution of marital property, which includes assets and debts. “Equitable” means “fair,” and while an equal division of marital property might often be fair, sometimes an unequal division is fair and an equal one isn’t. Judges look at a number of different factors to determine what type of division would make the most sense in a particular case. Our Fairfax divorce attorneys take the time to understand your needs and goals regarding particular items of property and the distribution as a whole. We’ll build a strong case based on the factors that influence the court to argue for and prove an equitable distribution of marital property that reflects your interests.
Spouses can decide between themselves how to divide the marital property, and our office encourages divorcing couples to try this, whether through informal talks and negotiations or more formal methods such as mediation or arbitration. A negotiated or mediated result might better reflect the interests of both parties and represent a more satisfactory outcome. Our attorneys are skilled mediators and negotiators who can advise you and work to keep this process on track so you’ll have a property settlement agreement to present to the judge. If this approach isn’t in the cards in your divorce, our lawyers are equally at home litigating the issue at trial to protect your rights and get you a fair result.
Courts decide child custody based on the best interests of the children. Judges in the Fairfax County courts will analyze the custody issue according to a list of ten factors set out in Virginia law, such as the relationship between parent and child, the role each parent has played in the child’s life, whether each parent is likely to maintain a close relationship with the child and encourage a relationship with the child and the other parent, and even the child’s preference as to custody, in some cases. Importantly, the judge decides both physical and legal custody. In other words, the court will determine which parent the child lives with and when as well as which parent has the final say on decisions regarding how to raise the child.
Virginia’s stated policy is for children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents and for both parents to share in decision-making, but judges can still grant primary or sole physical or legal custody to one parent if that is believed to be in the best interests of the child. Simms Showers LLP can help you work up a parenting plan and custody or visitation schedule with the other parent and submit it to the judge for approval. If you and your child’s other parent disagree over custody, trust that we will provide strong and effective representation on your behalf in court.
Each parent is obligated by law to support their children financially. In a divorce or other custody dispute, the court resolves this issue by applying the Virginia Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines take both parents’ incomes and other factors and put them through a formula to determine how much one parent should pay to the other in monthly child support. Our Fairfax divorce attorneys can help in this process by ensuring that you and your child’s other parent are both making complete and accurate financial disclosures to the court for fair use of the guidelines.
The amount of child support determined by the guidelines is presumed to be the correct amount, but this presumption can be rebutted with evidence showing the guidelines amount is inadequate or unfair. The judge can deviate from the guidelines and order a different amount in the best interests of the children. If you and your co-parent agree on a different amount, we can present a compelling argument for the judge to grant that requested support order. If you and the other party disagree over the proposed amount, we’ll argue for or against a deviation from the guidelines in you and your children’s best interests.
Fairfax Circuit Court judges look at over a dozen factors when deciding whether to award spousal support (alimony) to a party requesting support in a divorce. The judge will also use these factors to determine how much to award and for how long. These factors include one party’s need to receive support and the other party’s ability to pay, how much support is needed to help a party become independent, or how much support is necessary to help a divorced spouse who cannot work maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
Spousal support in Virginia can be paid in one lump sum or monthly over a limited period of years, or it might be made open-ended or permanent. Our Fairfax divorce lawyers are well-versed in the applicable factors and can present a persuasive case when you are arguing for or against spousal support in your divorce.
Personal Help and Attention Are Available for Your Fairfax Divorce and Related Issues
The decisions made in a divorce judgment are final, enforceable court orders that can only be later modified due to a material change in circumstances. Get these matters decided right the first time so that they work for you and help you move forward in a positive direction after divorce. For help with divorce in Fairfax, call Simms Showers LLP at 703-337-3133 to speak with a lawyer or schedule an appointment at our Fairfax law office.