Divorce Attorneys In Amherst, Lynchburg, And Nelson

Fault Or No Fault? Grounds For Divorce In Virginia.

Virginia is among a small number of states that still allows for divorces on fault-based grounds. This means that if one spouse causes the marriage to break down, the other can petition to break the marriage contract.

Typical grounds for a fault-based divorce include adultery, felony conviction followed by incarceration, cruelty, willful desertion, and abandonment. Such grounds may be useful leverage in contested divorce cases in which one spouse purports to be the "wronged" party and is seeking to obtain assets, child custody, and other advantages.

However, state law also allows for divorces on grounds of separation, which are commonly known nationwide as "no-fault" divorces. A divorce on grounds of separation may be obtained even if no specific conduct can be identified as the cause for the marital breakdown, once the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of time. Divorces on grounds of separation often end with divorce settlements that are negotiated out of court and that set the terms for a wide range of post-marital issues, including child custody and visitation, spousal support, and other concerns.

At Shrader & Goad in Amherst, we help clients throughout Virginia to complete their divorces while meeting their objectives for asset retention, child access, and other considerations that come with the end of a marriage.

We can help you save money in an uncontested divorce, obtain regular contact with your child, divide complicated assets and debts, and resolve other divorce-related issues. Our team of skilled and experienced divorce and separation lawyers has more than 50 years of combined experience in resolving legal issues for clients. We can help you.

Resolving Divorce And Asset Division Issues

Our law office serves clients throughout Central Virginia, including the counties of Amherst, Nelson and Buckingham, as well as the City of Lynchburg. Situations in which we can assist you include:

  • Divorce. We can help you secure an uncontested divorce through a prearranged, negotiated or mediated settlement, or a contested divorce in court. We can also help you to resolve important issues of child custody, child support, spousal support, and more. Our lawyers can also help you to complete any necessary name changes following a divorce.
  • Separation. A Virginia separation is different from a "legal separation" in many other states. To separate here, a married couple must only stop living together with the intention of divorcing. After one year of living separately, one spouse or the other may file for divorce. We can advise you throughout your separation and leading into the divorce process, if you so desire. Although a separation agreement is not required in Virginia, we highly recommend obtaining one with the assistance of our attorneys. When a separation agreement is in place, a divorce may be obtained after six months if there are no minor children of the marriage.
  • Annulments. An annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage was never legally valid. In Virginia, annulment has specific requirements, including proof that the marriage was "defective" in some way, was fraudulent or involved one spouse withholding important information from the other spouse. An annulment essentially erases a marriage from a legal standpoint.
  • Property division. We assist our clients in obtaining equitable divisions of assets acquired during their marriages, including homes and vehicles. We also help clients apportion shared debts from credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and other unsecured and secured debts. We routinely advise clients on creating qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) that alter the ownership of pensions and retirement plans.
  • Spousal support. Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to help you obtain or avoid payment of spousal support (alimony) at the end of a marriage.

Settlement When Possible, Litigation When Necessary

Every divorcing person's circumstances are different, and so are their legal needs. In our experience, most divorcing people obtain more of what they want — in terms of money, property, and access to children — by pursuing negotiated, out-of-court divorce settlements rather than contentious litigation. Settlements are generally quicker, cheaper and less emotionally draining for everyone involved. To that end, our lawyers work hard to help clients forge lasting and meaningful divorce settlements that meet their needs as well as those of their children.

We realize, however, that not all divorces can conclude so cleanly. Financially complicated and emotionally contentious divorces often preclude settlement and require litigation. In such cases, we aggressively pursue our clients' goals while providing effective and cost-efficient litigation services.

Discuss Your Divorce With An Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Shrader & Goad offers free initial consultations to prospective clients. To learn more about how our Amherst divorce lawyers can help you get the results you need, contact us online or by calling 434-509-0226, 888-497-1184 toll free.