February 16, 2021
What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Adultery in Virginia
20-40% of marriages end because of adultery in the United States. According to a study released in 2018 by the Institute for Family Studies, 20% of married men and 13% of married women have admitted to having intercourse with someone besides their spouse.
While adultery may not be as common as media and popular culture makes it out to be, it is still devastating if you find out your spouse is seeing someone else behind your back. In Virginia, adultery is a “fault” grounds for divorce and can be used to start your divorce proceedings immediately.
Before you start driving to the courthouse, it is important to have evidence before beginning your divorce proceedings. Virginia requires a lot of evidence for adultery, and your case for adultery may not be successful if you do not have the evidence the court requires.
If you believe your spouse is cheating on you, make sure to be prepared before filing for divorce.
How Adultery is Defined in Virginia
Every state has their laws and definitions of adultery. In Virginia, adultery is defined by the law as “Any person, being married, who voluntarily shall have sexual intercourse with any person not his or her spouse shall be guilty of adultery.”
Under this law, adultery is considered a Class 4 misdemeanor, making it a criminal act. While most spouses accused of adultery do not receive criminal charges during divorce proceedings, this still shows how seriously adultery is taken in Virginia courts.
While adultery is a serious charge, it also requires serious evidence to use as the basis for your divorce. The state requires “clear and convincing” evidence to grant a divorce under these grounds. This means you need substantial proof that your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person.
What Evidence Do You Need?
While adultery is a serious charge, it also requires serious evidence to use as the basis for your divorce. The state requires “clear and convincing” evidence to grant a divorce under these grounds.
On top of this, the accused spouse can invoke their Fifth Amendment right and refuse to give any self-incriminating evidence to the court. This means you need substantial proof that your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person.
The key is to prove that the spouse did act on their infidelity and did not just plan it. While you can use as much incriminating evidence as you want, only a few can serve as the backbone of your divorce case.
- Confession: One form of proof is a confession from the spouse that committed adultery. If you have a voice message, text, or email from them admitting to the infidelity, this can form the core of your argument.
- Corroboration: Virginia requires corroboration of evidence in a divorce proceeding. This means you need a piece of evidence or testimony from a source outside the marriage. Most people resort to a private investigator to gather testimony and photographic evidence.
- Incriminating messages: Access to emails or text messages between your spouse and the other person can only strengthen your argument. While talking about a romantic dinner or planning to visit a hotel are not evidence that anything happened, they can back up the more definitive pieces of evidence.
These are common examples of evidence used in adultery divorce cases. It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney before building your case and gathering evidence. This attorney can help you gather the best evidence for your case and build the strongest argument possible.
Common Defense for Adultery Charges
No matter how strong your evidence is, it is important to note that the accused spouse can defend adultery accusations in a few ways. There are in fact 4 ways the accused spouse can defend themselves in court when accused of adultery.
- Condonation: If a spouse finds out about the adultery and decides to continue the relationship, that’s condonation. Essentially, if you find out that your spouse has cheated and decide to stay with them, you cannot use adultery as grounds for divorce.
- Connivance/Procurement: One defense is if the “innocent” spouse encourages and facilitates the affair. So, if you intentionally planned or encouraged the infidelity, then adultery cannot be used in your divorce case.
- Recrimination: If both spouses are cheating, and the accused can prove it, then your adultery argument can be thrown out. Of course, the other spouse has the same challenges as you to prove adultery, so this defense is equally difficult to use.
- Time-barred: Adultery has a 5-year statute of limitations in Virginia. So, if the infidelity occurred more than 5 years ago, you cannot use it as the basis for a divorce.
It is important to consider every side of your specific situation and take note if your spouse could use these defenses against you.
Defend Yourself with Experience
As you have seen, adultery is not only a serious offense under Virginia law, but it also requires plenty of clear and decisive evidence to prove in a divorce case. Worst of all, the accused spouse has many avenues to use to defend themselves from the accusation, which can ruin your case in an instant.
Because the proceedings can be so sensitive, it is important to have an experienced family attorney on your side. They can use their expertise to create a case based on your specific situation, advising you on what evidence to gather and what steps to take to give yourself a fighting chance in court.
If you are looking for an accomplished and knowledgeable family law attorney, look no further than Cravens and Noll.
Our family law attorneys care about your family getting the compensation and safety it deserves and will work with you to reach the best possible outcome. They can call on decades of experience to offer you the best legal defense.
Schedule a consultation to begin building your divorce case.
October 6, 2020
What Should Be Included in a Divorce Settlement
Getting a divorce can be a long and difficult process. Emotions are high as you end what you thought would last forever.
One of the most contested yet important parts of a divorce is writing up the divorce settlement agreement. This process involves sitting down with your ex-spouse and determining how you both will split your assets.
Reaching an agreement can be stressful, especially if the other party is uncooperative or you go in without a plan.
You may not fully understand what should be included in the agreement.
While there are plenty of assets that need to be split between a divorced couple, there are some common items that every agreement should include.
This post will help to dispel any general questions or concerns you might have about creating a divorce settlement agreement.
How A Divorce Attorney Can Help You
A lawyer argues for your best interests. These agreements can be made before or after you officially separate, but it’s recommended that you complete the agreements.
This helps the divorce process go smoothly, helping you avoid any extra lawyer fees or complications in court.
It’s recommended that you hire a family law attorney to advise you during the agreement proceedings. Your attorney will fight for your rights and help both you and your spouse reach a compromise on certain points.
How Does a Divorce Settlement Work?
When you and your spouse decide to separate, you both need to determine who gets what assets and, if with children, how you both plan to support them.
The point of a divorce settlement agreement is to put these plans in writing to make them legally binding.
Every marriage is different, meaning your separation isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. While there are common elements of each divorce settlement, like splitting assets and determining child support, you should consider what you both want, specifically.
Begin By Gathering Necessary Documentation
You should gather as much documentation or information as it relates to salaries over the past several years, values of investments, amounts of debt, and values of real estate, and tax returns. You do not have to have every document before meeting with an attorney, but it is helpful to begin the drafting of a divorce agreement if you have this information.
Be as Detailed as Possible in Your Agreement
When starting your divorce agreement, it’s important to include as much relevant information as possible.
This information helps the court to understand the conditions of your marriage and separation.
While you should consult with an attorney to make sure you don’t leave anything out, here are some standard pieces of information to include:
- Date of your marriage
- Date of your separation
- Why you’re getting divorced
- If you have any, the names and ages of your children
- Your current living arrangements and addresses
Find and Divide Your Assets
This is when tensions begin to rise in a divorce proceeding. It’s important to fairly divide the assets between each spouse. These assets include any properties or debts shared by the spouses.
This can include cars or houses, along with their respective loans and payments. This is where having an attorney comes in handy.
- Protect your best interests during these proceedings
- Help you both figure out all of your assets
- Help you accurately divide them.
As you both figure out how to split your shared assets, it’s important to compromise on certain items and stay steadfast on others.
Deciding Child Custody
Child custody is probably the most contested agreement in any divorce.
Deciding child custody and creating a parenting plan are emotionally charged discussions between two spouses. You both love your children and want what’s best for them.
Be sure to figure out the plan that’s best for them, not yourselves.
You can choose between one parent having sole and physical custody, joint legal custody with one parent have primary custody, shared legal and physical custody, and split custody
- One parent is the physical custodian and decision maker, while the other is given reasonable access to the child for visitation
Joint Legal Custody:
- Both parents have equal say for important decisions, one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation.
- Both parents share equally say for important decisions, and both parents have significant time with the child/children.
- Does not have to be 50/50, it can be that one parent has weekends during school and equal time during the summer. The custodial time can vary depending on the parent’s schedules and the best interest of the children.
- If both parents can work reasonably well together, this is often times the best for the children.
- Is fairly rare
- It involves one parent being responsible for one child, while the other is responsible for another child.
- This plan is usually only used in special circumstances, like if there are many children or if the child is old enough to make their own decisions.
Agreeing on Child and Spousal Support in Virginia
When determining how much should be paid towards child support, the amount is based on what state you’re in.
Virginia has a calculator to determine how much child support one may have to pay depending on incomes, health insurance and daycare costs.
Spousal support is much more difficult to determine. This is often times the most difficult issue to negotiate and settle in a divorce agreement.
While you cannot keep a child from receiving support, you can waive your spousal support, also known as alimony.
Double Check Everything In The Settlement
Before you turn in your divorce settlement, make sure you double check everything in the document.
Make sure all of your spelling and grammar is correct and that both you and your spouse agree on the terms.
This is one of the most important steps of the divorce process. Once the agreement is legally binding, it is what the legal system will refer to when issues with your separation are brought forward.
Divorce Agreement Attorney
Deciding your divorce settlement agreement can be stressful and time-consuming. That’s why you need an attorney you can trust to fight for your best interests.
The divorce attorneys at Cravens and Noll have years of experience in handling all parts of a separation case.
Contact us to schedule a consultation so we can help you during this difficult moment in your life.
September 18, 2020
What Are The Stages of Separation in Divorce
No fault divorce requires that you are separated from your spouse for at least a year. (This can be as little as six months if you have a signed agreement in place and no minor children together.
During this stage in the divorce, your marriage may feel like it’s in limbo. You may feel confused on what is or is not allowed between you and your spouse or between yourself and the dating scene.
In some Virginia courts, legal separation doesn’t mean you have to live under two separate roofs. So long as you have been abiding by standards of “in-home” separation, it may count depending on the circumstances (having children together, for instance, makes it very difficult to prove you are separate under the same roof). To do so, there should be physical separation (i.e. two separate rooms or two separate houses) and an intention to divorce.
Practically speaking, this looks like you and your spouse not interacting at all as spouses. You don’t cook for each other. You don’t do the other spouse’s laundry. You don’t maintain joint bank account.
This gives you a silver lining to the separation period. The feelings of limbo can give you a slow transition that will help you and your spouse work through the emotional stages of separation.
Like many losses in life, the loss of a relationship requires a healthy amount of grieving before you can emotionally move on.
The widely recognized 5 stages of grief come from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying.” While everyone processes grief in their own way, psychologists recognize that most people go through their own order and timeline of the same 5 stages.
Denial: Struggling to Accept Finality
In the denial stage of separation, you may struggle with accepting that divorce is really happening. This is an okay feeling to experience at this stage. It’s part of making peace with your inner optimist.
The part that can be problematic is when you try to rationalize the failings of your relationship that led to divorce to start with.
Moving on from this stage involves feeling certain of your decision. You’ll be ready for the next stage when you’re sure that the relationship is better off ending.
Anger: Struggling to Accept Peace
The next emotional stage to separation in divorce comes off the heels of accepting that this is really happening to you and your spouse. If you successfully processed your denial, you will naturally feel anger at your spouse’s or your own failings.
While these may feel like toxic thoughts, it may be a necessary stage for you to go through. Grappling with accepting peace instead of anger may lead into pursuing temporary feelings of peace. That’s where bargaining comes in.
Bargaining: Struggling to Accept True Justice
Bargaining is an attempt to find temporary relief for the uncomfortable feelings of separation. You may try to find ways to get back with your spouse. Perhaps you may be tempted to bargain away some of your rights to your children, your principles or your happiness.
Bargaining feelings are normal. If you can recall how you processed your feelings in stage one, it may help you in this stage. You can remind yourself of the finality of your divorce decision.
This stage poses a unique threat to your divorce. In Virginia, the separation period must be marked by an intention to divorce.
If you are faltering in your intention to divorce, you may threaten your rights or agree to compromises that aren’t in your best interests.
Depression: Struggling with Feeling Trapped
This stage of separation in divorce can be the result of the stage before it. If you’ve realized that you can’t bargain your way out of the situation, you may feel trapped. It’s correct, none of the easy ways to bargain your way out of the situation will help. But this feeling may make you feel depressed.
While it may be normal to feel depressed, if it begins to hurt your quality of life or you have feelings of suicide, get help. Separation and divorce can be difficult, and it’s okay to feel the weight of your decision, but severe depression and suicidal thoughts are dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
When you’ve processed your feelings of depression, you should be ready to accept the emotional freedom that comes with your decision to divorce.
Acceptance: Hope for Your Post-Divorce Future
Very few people skip the previous 4 stages of separation and jump to the stage of acceptance. It takes time to process how you feel through each of the 4 previous stages of separation.
The payoff, however, is worth it.
The acceptance stage is the strongest stage for you in your separation from your spouse. You can protect yourself from feeling down on your luck, feeling vindictive or being too willing to bargain your way into a bad post-divorce arrangement.
From the expertise of a team of divorce lawyers serving the Richmond, Chesterfield and Harrisonburg areas of Virginia, this is the ideal stage to approach your divorce proceedings from. It helps us help you get the best arrangement for you and your family after your divorce.
If you have any additional questions about divorce in Virginia, check out our other articles on our website or give us a call.
August 31, 2019
Checklist for a Virginia Parenting Plan
All parents have rights and responsibilities regarding care for minor children, so custody and visitation will be a primary issue in a Virginia divorce case. Courts tend to favor a shared approach to these issues, so that the child enjoys a strong relationship with each parent. A report published by the Institute for Family Studies confirms the benefits of a co-parenting arrangement, stating that children in such environments experience better outcomes with respect to overall well-being.
To achieve these positive outcomes, state law encourages divorcing couples to come up with a parenting plan that addresses the various issues that arise in shared parenting. A Virginia child custody attorney can provide specific recommendations based upon your unique situation, but a checklist for parenting plans may offer some guidance.
Joint Custody Issues: Under Virginia’s definition of joint custody, both parents share in the responsibility for the child’s care and each has the power to make decisions regarding important issues involved with raising him or her. Examples include determinations on education, health care, extracurricular activities, and others. The parenting plan should identify which decisions require mutual agreement, as well as how parents will go about resolving disputes.
Default Time Sharing: For practical purposes, one parent will likely have residential custody – which doesn’t not affect joint custody in terms of decision making. However, that does mean that the other parent has the right to parenting time, traditionally referred to as visitation. The parenting plan should address when and how the non-residential parent will exercise visitation rights on a routine, regular basis; usually, this will revolve around the school year. The plan should also mention the protocol for what happens when one parent cannot participate in time sharing because of work or personal reasons.
You should note that the arrangement of both custody and visitation must comply with the Virginia’s best interests of the child standard. Even if you can agree upon a parenting plan, a judge may still reject it if it doesn’t support the 10 factors listed in the statute.
Time Sharing for Breaks and Holidays: Aside from the default provisions on time sharing, your parenting plan should include provisions regarding school breaks, holidays, and other special occasions. For example, it’s common for parents to alternate major holidays and the child’s birthday. Each parent should expect to have the child for his or her own birthday, plus respective Mother’s and Father’s Days.
Expectations Regarding Parental Communication: Probably the most critical component of the parenting plan is communication, because of the benefits for coordination and compromise on raising the child. You should set up specific parameters for how often you discuss child-related issues and what happens in the event of an emergency, as well as many other matters.
Contact a Virginia Child Custody Lawyer About Your Case
To learn more about parenting plans and how to structure an arrangement that works for your family, please contact Cravens & Noll PC to claim your initial consultation. Our family law attorneys represent clients throughout Central and Western Virginia from our offices in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, and Harrisonburg. We can provide additional information after reviewing the details of your case.
March 29, 2019
Potential Reasons your Virginia Prenuptial Agreement Could be Deemed Invalid
Virginia is an equitable property state, which means that during a divorce, your marital assets will be divided in an equitable manner. Equitable does not mean equal. If you have a prenuptial agreement and it is deemed invalid, the court will divide assets according to Virginia law, not your contract. This is why it’s crucial to have your prenuptial agreement drafted by a Virginia family law attorney.
Here are some of the reasons your prenuptial agreement could be deemed invalid during your divorce.
Agreement is Not in Writing or Signed
The law does not allow for oral prenuptial agreements. Your marital agreement must be in writing in order for the court to determine its validity. And, on that note, if you have it in writing and it’s not signed by your spouse, the agreement will be declared invalid.
You Broke Up Before the Marriage
If you have joint assets prior to the marriage, you may have included those on your prenuptial agreement. If you end up breaking up before the wedding takes place, the agreement won’t be valid as the act of marriage is what would make it valid. To split up the assets you own jointly, you may have to litigate some of these issues.
Your Agreement has Invalid Provisions
The court will determine your prenuptial agreement is invalid if it contains invalid provisions. The courts give considerable latitude when it comes to what a prenuptial agreement can contain. However, if your agreement is in violation of a federal or state law, the judge may deem the whole agreement invalid. There is a chance the judge may only strike the clause that is invalid, but is it worth taking that risk to include something questionable in your agreement?
Agreement Contains Fraudulent Information or Assets are Missing
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, both parties have to disclose all their financials. This includes income, debts, assets, and any other liabilities. If one party is attempting to hide assets or puts fraudulent information in the agreement, there is a good chance the judge will declare the entire agreement invalid. It’s important to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible in a prenuptial agreement so you do not run the risk of your soon to be ex claiming you purposely hid assets or misrepresented some information in the agreement.
Your Agreement is One-Sided
A prenuptial agreement that heavily favors only one party will likely be thrown out. You cannot draft an agreement that leaves one spouse in complete financial ruin in the event the marriage breaks up. These types of agreement are referred to as unconscionable contracts and won’t stand up in court.
Retaining a Virginia Marital Agreement Attorney
In the event you need to have a prenuptial agreement drafted, or you have been presented one to sign, it’s important to speak to a skilled Virginia premarital agreement attorney. By ensuring your soon-to-be-spouse has your agreement reviewed by his or her own independent attorney, it eliminates any claim of being forced to sign under duress or that they lacked mental capacity to sign. Contact Cravens & Noll PC at 804-330-9220 to schedule a consultation.
December 18, 2018
Factors to Consider in a High-Net-Worth Divorce
Getting a divorce can be a stressful experience for most couples. However, those couples who are considered high income earners and have a large asset portfolio may find the process even more stressful and complex. It’s important to retain a law firm that specializes in Virginia high-net-worth divorce cases.
Virginia is what’s known as an equitable distribution state. It is not a community property state where things are typically split 50/50. The courts have discretion to take different factors into account that could change their decision on how to divide marital assets. The idea of equitable distribution is that both partners walk away with a fair split of the assets.
Here are several things to know about high-net-worth divorces in Virginia.
Prenuptial and Post-Marital Agreements
It’s common to find prenuptial and post-marital agreements used in high-net-worth marriages. Depending on the terms of the agreement, some spouses may choose to challenge the enforceability and validity of the agreement based on a number of causes. It’s important you have your agreement prepared by a family law attorney and have your future spouse review it with their own independent counsel. This reduces the risk of having your agreement declared invalid during a divorce.
The theory of equitable distribution extends to spousal support, or alimony. The court can require the higher-earning spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse depending on:
- How long your marriage lasted; and
- What their standard of living was like during the marriage.
If you and your soon-to-be ex own a family business together, it is highly recommended to have an expert provide a valuation on what the business is worth. It’s important to note there may be a number of restrictions regarding withdrawals and transfers.
Property division is often one of the topics that makes a high-net-worth divorce so complex. Couples may have multiple residences, vacation homes in other states or countries, yachts, and other assets that are located out of the country. If you have a lot of separate property, there are instances where commingling funds might make something you perceive as separate property be marital property now.
If your divorce is contested and your spouse wants you to wind up with “nothing,” there may be a chance he or she is hiding assets or liquidating them in hopes of preventing you from getting any proceeds. This may require retaining an expert, like a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants can do more than just provide a business valuation total, they can look for hidden assets and uncover attempts at liquidating known ones.
Retaining a Virginia Divorce Attorney
These are just some of the issues high-net-worth couples may encounter during a divorce. There are many other complex topics that can arise. If you are preparing for a complex or high-net-worth divorce, you need a Virginia divorce attorney who has access to the resources and experts needed to protect your assets and your rights. Contact Cravens & Noll PC at 804-330-9220 to schedule a consultation at one of our five conveniently located offices in Western and Central Virginia.
October 13, 2018
Can a Reconciliation Agreement be an Alternative to a Divorce?
Reconciliation agreements spell out what both parties in a troubled marriage need to do in order to get back on track, and includes what will happen if it does or doesn’t. If your relationship is having serious problems, do you want to save it? If so, this may be worth a try and it has the benefit of some certainty over what will happen if the relationship ends in a divorce or not. If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and think this approach might be right for you, we may be able to help.
A reconciliation agreement is a postnuptial agreement allowing couples to give themselves a chance put their marriage back on track while stating in advance the terms of a split if the reconciliation fails or succeeds.
One could include a promise to get substance abuse treatment, stop having extra-marital affairs, or a promise by one or both parties to work less and give more time to each other. If these goals aren’t met, the practical details of a divorce will already have been agreed to and formalized.
These agreements allow couples to have a fresh start
Written commitments shared with others may be more likely to stick, especially if grave consequences of failing are also spelled out. They can help couples feel more secure personally, emotionally and financially because there is a future path spelled out, even if it may split in two in the future.
Reconciliation agreements can prevent some of the unknowns of a divorce and may help avoid the emotion and cost that comes if a divorce happens in the end. The terms of a split written into an agreement hopefully would’ve been agreed to when a couple is more hopeful and constructive rather than at a bitter end of a relationship.
A reconciliation agreement could be created at any time after a marriage takes place
It may help a couple after serious problems have come up. It could be the result of marriage counseling or the help of a family law mediator. This agreement may also be an option if the couple no longer lives together but haven’t yet gotten a divorce.
This agreement can try to set down who will have what kind of child custody as well as who will pay how much child and spousal support. If the couple divorces it will ultimately be up to a judge to decide whether or not the agreement is enforceable as is or needs to be changed. Child support that deviates from state guidelines may not be approved and child custody arrangements will need to be in the child’s best interests.
A reconciliation agreement needs to meet several requirements to become legally binding in Virginia
It needs to be a written document explaining the terms of their agreement. The spouses must both sign under oath and their signatures need to be witnessed by a notary.
A judge can “affirm, ratify and incorporate by reference” the spouses’ agreement in the divorce decree, the court order ending the marriage. Once affirmed, ratified and incorporated, the divorce settlement becomes a part of the divorce decree and either spouse may ask for court enforcement of the terms.
If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and you think your marriage might end in a divorce and want to discuss creating a reconciliation agreement, call Cravens & Noll P.C., at 804-330-9220 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your situation, your legal rights and your best options for moving forward.
September 26, 2018
How Can I Make My Separation as Painless as Possible?
The emotional pain and stress of a marital separation can vary depending on the situation. If your spouse is abusive the separation may be welcome but if you still love your spouse and feel there’s just something missing, something that needs to be worked out, that feeling of “we’re so close yet so far” it can be a tough time. If you think you need time away from your marriage and live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas, Cravens & Noll can help.
In Virginia to get a divorce, there needs to be grounds for it but they don’t have to be fault based grounds (like adultery, felony conviction, cruelty, desertion or abandonment). You can use no fault grounds if you don’t have any fault ground or you do, but would rather have a no fault divorce. To use grounds for a no fault divorce, you have to be separated for a year (or six months if you don’t have minor children and you have a signed agreement in place).
Separation can be a stepping stone to a divorce or a time out that’s needed to repair a damaged relationship. To make the most of this time, here are some suggestions,
- What do you want? Do you want a divorce eventually? Do you want time to see if you can turn the relationship around? You need to be honest with yourself and to your spouse about what you really want. Listen to each other without blaming or arguing.
- Give each other time. Separation can be painful. Your emotions may range from looking forward to a new start to bitterness, anger or hopelessness. Take time to process whatever feelings come up and work through them in your own way. If you think you’re making progress, take more time away than what’s needed to file for a divorce. There’s no hurry.
- Make agreements for everything including bank accounts, bills, living arrangement for your children and insurance issues. Discuss whether dating would be appropriate. If you’re heading towards a divorce, it may not be a big deal. If one of you thinks staying married may be in the cards, dating may be a deal breaker. Talk to an attorney before making a formal agreement.
- Be as kind as you can. Tensions can run high during a separation. You may be close to the edge and fall into old habits of fighting and sniping at each other. Try to let it go. Whether the marriage survives or not, more tension and aggravation won’t do either of you any good.
- Don’t try to change your spouse. If he or she hasn’t changed while you dated or during your marriage, don’t expect it during a separation. If you spouse can’t be on time for anything, lacks much interest in your kids or works too many hours, it will probably continue. Be accepting except if those habits include physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Draw boundaries.
- Be honest with your kids. Unless your kids are very young, they know what’s going on even if they can’t understand everything. Be as honest as you can with them, tell them they’re loved by you and your spouse. What you should skip is dragging your spouse through the mud or blaming him or her for the marriage’s problems. Your kids have enough to deal with, don’t make them pawns in a game to punish your spouse.
- Take care of yourself. Talk to your most trusted friends or family members. Tell them what would be helpful to you right now. See a therapist if you are having a hard time managing your feelings. Your life will probably be very busy and stressful as you move into separation, especially if you have kids. Take some time off to look after yourself each day, even if it’s only fifteen minutes to cool off, focus and think.
If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and you think your marriage might end in a divorce and want to discuss how a separation would work, call us at 804-330-9220 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your situation, your legal rights and your best options for moving forward.
September 13, 2018
How Can I Control the Costs of a Divorce? Four Tips to Reduce Costs
The most important thing a couple can do to reduce the costs of a divorce is to eliminate, or at least narrow as much as possible, whatever areas of disagreement you may have with your spouse. The more disagreements there are and the less cooperation between parties, the costs in time, energy, emotion and money increase. There are many other things to consider when getting a divorce, but reducing the costs of a divorce is key. The attorneys at Cravens & Noll P.C., can work with you to try to limit as many costs as possible.
Reduce the areas of disagreement
Virtually any issue in a divorce such as splitting up assets, spousal support and child custody, if not resolved through an agreement could be litigated so a judge decides the outcome. The more litigation there is, the more costs there are and, depending on the circumstances, they could be substantial. An uncontested divorce, as opposed to one that’s hard fought, has a much lower cost.
That being said, being agreeable for the sake of making a divorce less expensive can have long term costs. You need to at least talk to an attorney before seriously engaging in any negotiations with your spouse. You may have rights you aren’t aware of and be entitled to certain things. You may just give all that up if you aren’t fully informed of the law. It’s much better to make an informed decision on a divorce agreement than quickly making one then later trying to pull it apart.
Resolve your differences with the help of a mediator
If the parties can’t make an agreement amongst themselves a mediator may be a wise investment. A mediator is a neutral third party who tries to help parties resolve disputes. They are often attorneys or retired judges. They charge by the hour and that expense is normally shared by the parties, so there is a cost to using a mediator. But if the parties are open-minded and willing to get help with coming to an agreement this can be far less expensive than litigation.
Retain the right attorney
An attorney is like any other professional. The more he or she has done something, the more knowledge he or she should have, the more effective and efficient the person should be. A “jack of all trades” attorney who takes a variety of cases may charge less but you may end up paying more for the attorney’s on the job divorce training. Things may take longer and the result may cost you far more in the long run than you saved in the short term, especially if a court decision needs to be appealed.
Cooperate with the attorney.
You may dread the divorce process and try to put it out of your mind but that won’t make it go away or speed up the process. If your attorney asks you for information or documents, respond in as timely a way as possible. Be proactive and cooperative. Don’t put things off until the last moment or skip scheduled meetings. The less the attorney needs to follow up with you, the less the attorney has to spend time getting what he or she needs, the lower the bill. Time is money. Don’t waste it.
If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and you think your marriage will end in a divorce, call Cravens & Noll P.C., at 804-330-9220 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your situation, your legal rights, the potential costs of a divorce and your best options for moving forward.
July 9, 2018
Divorce and Self-Employment: Things You Should Know
Divorce, a problematic phase of life becomes more difficult if your partner is self-employed. There is a possibility that your self-employed partner may attempt to cloak his or her assets, which is one of the biggest concerns in such cases. Whereas, if you are a self-employed individual who wish to part ways with his/ her partner, then you must explore all the legal ways to protect your business. It is important that you know how to protect your interests if you are going through a divorce. In this article, we will list down what to expect and how to protect your interests.
Divorcing as a self-employed individual
Your financial health will be affected, if your partner claims that you earn more than you actually do. You need to be ready for it, because your business and your future depends on it. You need to follow the below mentioned divorce tips to protect your interests:
- Collect as many legally valid documents about your business and financial situation as you possibly can. Reliable and legally verifiable information is the key in divorce proceedings, so collect all the information you can.
- Seek professional help. You need to hire an accountant or auditor who can present accurate picture of your business.
Divorcing your self-employed spouse
As mentioned above, your self-employed partner may try to hide his/ her assets to give you less share than you legally deserve. To avoid such situations, you should determine the financial situation of your partner accurately. If you and your partner share a good relationship, then the chances of fraud are less but there always exist a possibility. Therefore, you need to follow the below mentioned points to protect your interest:
- Collect as many legally valid documents about your partner’s business and financial situation as you possibly can.
- Hire a forensic accountant or a business evaluate to find the true worth of your partner’s business.
If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and you are thinking of divorcing your self-employed partner, call Cravens & Noll at 804-330-9220 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your situation, your legal rights, the potential costs of a divorce and your best options for moving forward.