How to Get a Divorce in Virginia

The 6 Steps To Prepare Yourself For a Divorce

 

  1. Don’t wait to protect yourself! Know your rights early.

Clients often come to see me in the early stages of separation and divorce. Sometimes a client is just looking to know “what if” scenarios if one of them decides to divorce.  These clients almost always leave saying something like “wow, I never knew that – thank goodness I met with you,” or “I will definitely take the steps you recommended if we decide to separate.”  I have also had clients come to me months or even a year or more after they or their spouse made the decision to divorce.  Sometimes that delay has put them in a bad position as they have made decisions I would have cautioned them against had they met with me sooner.  If you are considering separation or divorce (or you think your spouse is), speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can.  There are almost certainly things you can do to put yourself in a better situation when it comes time to divorce.  These may include dividing bank accounts, opening new bank accounts, collecting information and documentation on your spouse’s financial and personal situation, and a whole host of other things.

  1. Be prepared when you meet with an attorney.

There are several things you can do to maximize your first meeting with an attorney:

  • Create a list or spreadsheet of the assets and debts you know exist. Sometimes people don’t have all this information and that’s fine, but having a list of what you do know about is often very helpful.  Be sure to let your attorney know if you believe your spouse may be hiding assets, or has been keeping you in the dark about what they have;
  • Prepare a list of questions you have. The attorney you meet with should be able to answer your questions at the initial consultation, or if a question cannot be answered at that time, explain why that is;
  • Determine what your priorities are and communicate them. Also, give thought to what you would like your post-divorce life to look like.  Do you intend to relocate?  Do you see yourself as being the primarily caretaker of the children, or more of a shared parenting arrangement?  Do you want to stay in the marital residence or have it sold?  Do you expect to retire soon, or make an employment change, like starting a business?
  1. Live separately.

In most circumstances you and your spouse must live separately for one year before either of you can apply to the court for a divorce.  Separation generally means one of two things: 1) that someone moves out of a shared residence and either or both parties have the intent to pursue a divorce; or 2) the parties live separately in the same residence and either or both parties have the intent to pursue a divorce.  Moving out is a clear demarcation for separation, but living separately in the same residence can be more challenging.  If you are considering living separately under the same roof, you can see our checklist of things you should be doing (if possible) to ensure that you truly are living separately here: https://www.curranmoher.com/blog/2017/02/02/in-house-separation-virginia/

  1. Get important things out of the house.

If there are any valuables or sentimental items that you would be very upset to lose, it is generally a good idea to get them out of the house.  Store them at a trusted friend or relative’s house, or in a storage facility.  You may also want to download copies of family photos and videos onto a cloud service or external hard drive.

  1. Know that the date of separation is the date of financial separation and act accordingly.

In Virginia, the date of separation is the date of financial separation.  Everything that is earned before the date of separation is presumed to marital property.  Every debt that is incurred before the date of separation is presumed to be a marital debt.  Conversely, after the date of separation all income earned is presumed to be the separate property of the party who earned it, and all debt is presumed to be the separate debt of the party who incurred it.  What does this mean in the real world?  It means that in most cases, it will be a good idea for you to open new credit cards and bank accounts after the date of separation to keep your separate property separate, and marital property marital.  Consult with an attorney on how best to use the accounts created.

  1. Consider the process you want to use.

In Virginia besides litigating in court, there are several processes you can use to get from a separation to a completed divorce.  They are negotiation, mediation, and Collaborative Law, and information about them can be found here:  https://www.curranmoher.com/blog/2020/04/17/divorce-without-court-options-for-a-less-cumbersome-stressful-process/.  It would be a good idea to review these options and discuss with your attorney which process option you believe may best fit your situation.

When you’re considering separation and divorce, it can be a challenge just figuring out where to start!  Fortunately, at Curran Moher Weis, we have the experience and expertise to help you navigate these waters.


CMW’s Jason Weis to Serve as Expert Panelist on Adultery Webinar

On Thursday, April 19, Curran Moher Weis’ partner Jason Weis, Esq., will serve as a panelist on the webinar, “Discovering and Dealing with Adultery,” hosted by the D.C. Bar Family Law Community.

The webinar will address the emotional and legal implications couples face when infidelity is discovered. Mr. Weis will serve as the family law expert panelist – sharing his legal knowledge and expertise on adultery in Virginia, Maryland and D.C., and helping to educate fellow attorneys, counselors and investigators about how the different jurisdictions currently handle adultery in divorce and family law cases. Other panelists include a private investigator and mental health professional. The webinar will be broadcast live from 6-7:45 p.m. EDT.

Click here for more information on joining the webinar. Read more about Mr. Weis’ expertise in adultery and other family law matters here, or request a consultation with him. Keep up with the latest news from Curran Moher Weis through our blog, or follow us on Twitter.


Curran Moher Weis Sponsors Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice for 6th Consecutive Year

Curran Moher Weis is dedicated to the Northern Virginia community in many ways – from the core of our business in supporting clients through the challenges of divorce and important family law matters, but also by giving back to communities we serve. For the sixth year in a row, Curran Moher Weis will sponsor the Annual Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice 5K.

The event, which this year will be held Sunday, April 15, supports pro bono programs that provide legal services to Fairfax County residents who could not otherwise afford them, as well as legal education programs and interactive activities, such as mock trial experiences, for local students. Curran Moher Weis has proudly served as a major sponsor of this event every year since our founding in 2012, including serving as the headline “Superhero” level sponsor. See more about last year’s event, including input from our esteemed founder and managing partner Grant Moher, Esq., in this Fairfax Times article.

We encourage you to come join the event as a runner or as a volunteer to help ensure a safe, fun experience for the adults and children in attendance. Learn more about volunteer needs here and/or sign up as a volunteer through this form.

What: Fairfax Law Foundation Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice 5K

When: Sunday, April 15, 2018 (Kids’ Fun Run: 8:30 a.m. | 5K: 9 a.m.)

Where: Fairfax Corner (4100 Monument Corner Drive | Fairfax, VA 22030) | See the Course Map

As always, the Curran Moher Weis team will be in full force with firm members, friends, and family members volunteering and running. We hope to see you there!


Curran Moher Weis Welcomes Steven Goldman as Partner

steven goldman partner

We are proud to announce Steven Goldman, Esq. as partner at Curran Moher Weis, P.C. Steve joined our firm in 2014 and has since become one of our star attorneys and a leader both within the firm and among the legal profession as a whole.

Outside of serving as a supportive and steadfast advocate for his clients, Steve is actively involved in several organizations to support the local community and enhance and advance the family law profession. Currently, he serves as Membership Chair of the Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia, and a volunteer with the Fairfax County Bar Association.

Our senior partner Gerald Curran, Esq. weighed in on this exciting announcement: “Steve is by far one of the best domestic relations attorneys in the Northern Virginia area. He has quickly and effectively established himself as a successful and strident advocate for our clients, and as a leader within our firm and among the legal profession at-large. We couldn’t be more pleased to associate with him as our partner, to recognize his accomplishments and to know that he will, for years to come, continue to make significant contributions not only to our firm but to the legal community as well.”

Check out news of Steve being named partner at Curran Moher Weis in the Washington Business Journal and the Washington Post, and see the official press release here.

Follow the latest news from Curran Moher Weis through our blog, and by following us on Twitter.

 


Curran Moher Weis Contributes to Record Year for Heroes vs. Villains 5K

On April 23, the Curran Moher Weis team was out in full force, participating for the 5th year in a row in the Fairfax Law Foundation’s Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice! It was an incredibly successful year, with 450 registered runners and a record level of sponsorship money raised. Here are just a few of the ways our firm supported and engaged in this important event:


A Farewell Message from Andrew Harman, Esq.

Many of you know that I served as an infantryman in the Marine Corps earlier in life. As it turns out, I could never shake the urge to get back into uniform. Effective Friday, April 21, I will be leaving Curran Moher Weis to join the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps on active duty. I will start with a six-week basic training program at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by a ten-week legal training program at the Army’s JAG school in Charlottesville, Virginia. In September, my family and I will be moving to Hawaii where I will join the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.



Curran Moher Weis Sponsors Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice for 5th Consecutive Year

While our firm focuses primarily on helping local families navigate the difficulties of divorce and family-related legal issues, we also recognize the importance of supporting and giving back to our community.