Manassas Divorce FAQs

If you’ve decided to file for divorce in Manassas or if you’ve been served with divorce papers by your spouse, you may feel overwhelmed by the legal and emotional aspects of divorce. You probably have many questions about the divorce process in Virginia. The Manassas family law attorneys at Collins Family Law have over a decade of experience navigating Virginia’s divorce laws for clients with a track record of client satisfaction. Some of the most frequently asked questions are those addressed below. Contact our experienced Manassas divorce attorneys now for legal help.

What Are the Requirements for Divorcing in Virginia?

In order to file for divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia, at least one of the spouses must have resided in the Commonwealth for six months or more. Spouses have the option of filing for a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. There are two types of no-fault divorces: if you have children, you must be separated for a year or more; if you do not have children, and you have a fully executed separation agreement, you may file for divorce after having been separated for six months. There are four types of fault-based divorces: adultery, cruelty, desertion or abandonment, and a felony conviction.

Can We Avoid Court in a Divorce in Manassas?

Spouses can choose an uncontested divorce that does not require battling their disputes in court. Instead, the spouses meet with their attorneys, and sometimes a professional mediator, to negotiate all the required divorce terms. This can include topics such as child custody/visitation, child support according to the state’s formula for calculating child support, the division of their marital property, and spousal support, when appropriate. If spouses sign a settlement agreement, the agreement becomes part of the Final Order of Divorce that the judge signs. If spouses cannot come to acceptable terms on one or more aspects of their divorce, they must take their disputes before a judge to decide.

Do We Have to Share Child Custody 50/50?

Custody and visitation are determined by ten statutory factors referred to as “the best interests of the child” that the judge must consider. Determining a custody and visitation schedule is complex. There is no presumption in favor of either parent or in favor of a 50/50 schedule.

What About Child Support?

The Commonwealth of Virginia uses a formula for determining child support. The formula considers each parent’s gross income, and the number of days the child resides with each parent. The judge holds the ultimate discretion and may deviate from this formula under specific circumstances.

Do We Have to Share Our Assets 50/50?

In community property states, spouses must divide the assets belonging to their “marital community” exactly 50/50, but Virginia is not a community property state. Virginia is an “equitable division of property state” which requires divorcing spouses to divide their marital property fairly and equitably. This helps more spouses arrive at settlement agreements with fewer court battles. Spouses may retain their separate assets and negotiate on what they determine as a fair resolution for their marital assets.

Do All Divorces Include Alimony Orders?

In Manassas divorces, the Virginia court only orders spousal support (alimony) under specific circumstances and the order is usually temporary until a dependent spouse becomes self-supporting. When considering a request for spousal support, the court looks at both spouses’ incomes and resources after the distribution of their assets and considers their accustomed lifestyle. If one spouse suffers a significant change in living standards after a divorce, the court may award that spouse temporary spousal support. Permanent spousal support is far less common and typically awarded in a divorce after a marriage of long duration or when one spouse’s age or physical condition prevents them from joining the workforce. Spouses who put their careers on hold to raise children or support the other spouse’s career advancement have a good chance of a judge ordering spousal support.