Manassas Divorce Attorney
Divorce is never easy. Even if a couple is parting ways amicably and agree on matters such as the custody of the children and how to divide marital property, moving on from such a significant relationship can be difficult emotionally. If any matters are heated or contested, then the process can become very tough to handle indeed. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, simple or complex, friendly or intense, the Manassas divorce attorneys at Simms Showers LLP are here for you to provide you with sound, practical advice and to be your advocate and protect your rights from the conference table to the courtroom.
Manassas Divorce Process
The process for obtaining a divorce in Manassas begins with filing a complaint with the clerk at the Prince William County Circuit Court and paying the accompanying filing fees. The process can be different depending on whether you are filing for a divorce from bed and board or a divorce from the bonds of matrimony. For a divorce from bed and board, the complaining party must allege willful desertion or abandonment or cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. A divorce from the bond of matrimony can be based on one of those grounds or other grounds such as adultery or conviction of a felony with a prison sentence of a year or more. Virginia also allows for “no-fault” divorce after the parties have lived separate and apart for one year, or six months if they have signed a separation agreement and don’t have any minor children.
The party filing the complaint must also arrange for the complaint and a summons to be served on the other party. The party who receives the summons and complaint then has a limited time to file an answer with the court or lose certain rights such as asking for spousal support. This time limit is generally 21 days, although it is extended to 60 days if the party is in another state or 90 days if the party is out of the country.
Contested v. Uncontested Divorce
The next stage depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means the parties agree on the grounds for divorce and also have settled all applicable issues such as the division of marital property, the payment of spousal support, child custody and child support matters. Navigating these issues can be tricky, even when the parties agree in principle. The Manassas divorce attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can help keep an uncontested divorce on track with practical tips and legal advice, technical assistance, and representation in any negotiations or mediation. We work to keep an uncontested divorce from becoming contested and make sure your rights and interests are adequately protected and reflected in the settlement agreement. Once the settlement agreement is ready, it can be submitted to the judge who will review it and incorporate it into the final divorce decree.
If the grounds for divorce or any issue is contested, then the matter will need to be resolved by the judge after a courtroom hearing. The hearing will take place after a period of litigation known as discovery, where both sides request information from each other, take depositions from witnesses or parties, consult with experts, and otherwise gather evidence and prepare their case for the judge. Our Manassas divorce lawyers are skilled litigators who invest the necessary time and effort into building and putting forward a strong and persuasive case for an outcome that meets your needs regarding property division, spousal support, child custody or other matters in dispute. The period before trial might also involve mediation, arbitration or settlement talks to possibly resolve contested issues without the need for a trial. Our firm encourages trial alternatives whenever possible to save on legal fees and keep relationships from being overly strained for the sake of the children and each party’s wellbeing. No matter what setting is required to resolve your divorce, we’ll give you the help you need for a successful result that meets your needs.
Help With Divorce in Manassas
If you are considering filing for divorce in Manassas or if you have been served with a summons and complaint by your spouse, call Simms Showers LLP at 703-721-4449 to speak with a skilled and experienced Manassas divorce lawyer ready to protect your rights, defend your interests, and deal with the legal issues in front of you efficiently and effectively.