You and/or your partner may be thinking about separating or divorcing. Times like these are hard on everyone, including the one making the initial decision. At the Law Offices of Charles F. Koehler, P.C., we want to make the decision and the transition as smooth as possible. Part of that process is being informed of what is expected in legal terms. If you are thinking of separating, here's the basics of what you need to know. If you have more questions, contact Charles F. Koehler for an initial consultation to discuss the particulars of your case.
What is Legal Separation in Loudoun County?
In Virginia, couples wanting a no-fault divorce must be separated for a period of time before they can file for divorce. Unlike in some states, there are no hard and fast rules about what the steps a couple must take in order to establish separation. Instead, the court looks at a number of factors to determine when and whether the parties separated for the requisite period of time. Obviously, if both parties maintain separate households at separate addresses, this is a good indication the parties have separated. However, parties may be legally separated even as they continue to live at the same address – commonly referred to as “separation under the same roof.”
To determine if legal separation has occurred, courts look at:
- Whether the couple present themselves as a married couple to the outside world
- Whether the couple shares household responsibilities
- Whether one party leaves the marital bed
- Whether one or both parties agree the marriage is over
- When the decision to separate was communicated to the other party.
For separation under the same roof cases, a third party must corroborate the separation.
When is Legal Separation Needed in Loudoun County VA?
The length of time of separation prior to a divorce varies depending on the circumstances of the couple. For couples without children, the separation period is a minimum of six months. For couples with children from the marriage, the separation period is a minimum of one year before they can file for divorce.
Some couples choose to draft a separation agreement. This temporary agreement becomes the document that controls important issues until the divorce is finalized. A separation agreement can address the very same issues a divorce court will address, including:
- The division of property
- Child custody
- Child support, and
- Spousal support.
Why Hire a Loudoun County Legal Separation Attorney
While you may legally separate while living under the same roof, it is essential to make certain your intentions are known. Proving a legal separation can be particularly challenging if one party does not want the divorce. A Loudoun County family law attorney can help by providing important legal information about how to structure a separation so the date of the separation and the intent of the party wanting a divorce is clear and unequivocal. They will also draft a separation agreement consistent with Virginia law and protect the interests of the party.
Let Us Help
At The Law Office of Charles F. Koehler, P.C., we recognize every family is different. We care about our clients. We work hard to draft legal documents that meet our clients' unique needs and desires. Call Charles F. Koehler today at (703) 669-5644 or complete our online form. We can work with you to develop a plan going forward that protects your interests and is in the best interests of your children.