At the Law Office of Charles F. Koehler, P.C., we offer a full range of family law services. We practice law with an eye towards our client's wants, needs, and best interests. While clients come to us with a general idea of what they want, we put our knowledge and experience to work, sorting out the finer details of a family law issue. Because we have experience with many different family situations, we can offer family law solutions that fit the unique needs of your family.
Family law covers a large number of topics, and below is a summary of some of the family law matters we represent at the Law Office of Charles F. Koehler, P.C.
When a married couple seeks to end their marriage, divorce is the process that achieves that goal. In the divorce, all assets and debts are divided, and decisions are made about the children and any ongoing support. Divorce can be resolved through:
- Collaborative divorce
- Negotiation, or
Child Custody and Visitation
Virginia, like all states, decides child custody and visitation matters based on what is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider many factors, including
- The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child's changing developmental needs;
- Whether both parents are fit to care for the child;
- The relationship each parent has with the child; the role each parent has played and will play in the upbringing of the child;
- The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members;
- The propensity of each parent to actively support the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;
- The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age, and experience to express such a preference;
If both parents can agree to a visitation plan, the court will most likely approve it unless it's deemed harmful to your child. Many families arrange plans that alternate weekends and holidays, but every situation is different and it is very important that plans make sense for the family. I can carefully review your family dynamic and assist you in creating a visitation schedule that preserves your parental rights and ensures your child's welfare.
Both parents are responsible for providing support for their child. To determine this amount in Virginia, there are child support guidelines that are presumptively correct and control over 95% of cases. The guidelines are based on a formula that takes into consideration the gross earnings of the parties, health insurance costs, work-related daycare costs, the amount of time the parents have care and control of the child, and whether or not either of the parties are providing support for other children. Child support is a parental obligation regardless of whether a parent takes advantage of child visitation rights.
Depending on the financial circumstances of each spouse, support may be negotiated or ordered by a judge.
In Virginia, the law calls for “equitable distribution” of property. This is not the same as “equal distribution” of property. For couples who cannot agree on property division, either through negotiation, mediation, or the use of a collaborative law approach, the courts will make decisions about the equitable distribution of property.
Post Judgment Modifications
Parties are not allowed to seek post-judgment modifications of the divorce decree simply because they don't like a court's ruling or an agreement they made. However, there are circumstances where judgments can be modified. Most common, these modification requests address child support, child custody, and spousal support. Typically, a change in circumstances of one of the parties is required.
Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights
When one party is no longer actively parenting and a stepparent is interested in adopting the child, the state allows the parties to terminate the rights of the inactive parent in conjunction with the adoption by a stepparent. Additionally, where a person wishes to adopt, there are legal proceedings that must be completed for the adoption to be recognized.
Domestic Violence and Child Endangerment
When a spouse or child is in danger due to domestic violence, steps can be taken to protect the victims. An attorney can assist in guiding the survivor through the court system, getting the court orders necessary to remove the abuser from the home.
Department of Social Services / Department of Family Protective Services
Sometimes, perhaps due to a false report or a misunderstanding, a government agency becomes involved in investigating a child's living situation. A qualified family law attorney can assist in advocating for the family throughout the process, including representing the family in court.
When to Hire a Family Law Attorney
The best time to hire a family law attorney is the instant you believe you may have a family law issue. From considering adopting a stepchild to filing for divorce, meeting with a family law attorney before you take the first step allows you to gather relevant information about what lies ahead. This allows you to make informed decisions every step of the way.
Why Hire Charles F. Koehler
Charles F. Koehler offers complete family law services, without judgment. He gladly explains all legal courses of actions and helps clients determine which course is best for them and their family. You can contact us online or at 703-669-5644.