Powell Radomsky, PLLC

Fairfax Family Law Blog

Parental guidance for discussing divorce with children

Parents in Virginia are often left to make difficult decisions. While some may decide to stay in an unhappy relationship because they feel it is in the best interest for their children, many come to the conclusion that children may be happier with two parents living peacefully apart rather than living together with contention. Often, informing children of the decision to divorce can be a difficult conversation to have.

Many parents have found that having a plan of what to say can help ease the conversation. Likewise, having both parents on the same page regarding how much information to give and their overall attitude toward the situation can help children as they adjust to the news. Discussing what information children need to know prior to discussing it with children can provide guidance.

Family law: Using prenuptial agreements to determine pet custody

Many couples in Virginia think of their pets as part of their family. Often, if the couple chooses to divorce, the question of what happens to the pet is a complicated one, with both people wanting to keep the pet in their lives. Because many states treat pets as property, a custody or visitation arrangement will not be ordered by the court. Fortunately, couples with pets who are considering marriage do have family law options available to them.

For example, some couples are detailing what will happen to their pets in a prenuptial agreement. One attorney claims to have seen a significant increase in the number of couples using such a tool to prevent a tug-of-war over their pets. The subject of a vast majority of these agreements -- approximately 88% -- include dogs.

Did your spouse file a divorce petition in a Virginia court?

If you're one of many Virginia spouses for whom a divorce petition ruined your holiday season, you may have felt blindsided or a sense of betrayal. Maybe you thought you and your spouse would be able to work things out. Perhaps, you knew there were serious problems in your marriage but had hoped to wait until after the holidays to address them. Your main concern was your children and making sure they could enjoy the festive celebrations of the season.

You may never know why your spouse chose to tell you he or she wanted a divorce during the holidays. However, while you may not be able to change another person's actions, you are in control of your own reactions to the action. There are several things to keep in mind, especially when you have been caught off-guard by a spouse's request for divorce.

Tips for an amicable divorce

It goes without saying that couples never get married with the intention of someday separating. However, according to statistics, nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.  Divorce is notoriously a very emotional, painful and complicated thing to experience. Here are a few tips to help Virginia residents get through one amicably.

When marriages end, it's relatively common for all parties involved to feel negative emotions like resentment and bitterness. Although easier said than done, it is important to never let negative emotions influence decisions. It may be difficult to find things to agree on, but that is exactly what separating couples should do. Sharing a common goal is a proven way to move the divorce process along in an amicable manner.

Is it better to litigate or negotiate a Virginia divorce?

For most people in Virginia, the decision to end their marriage is likely one of the most difficult ones they will make in their lifetime. Despite this, most would agree that this choice is one that will have a positive impact on the rest of their lives. While they may live a happier life, the decisions made during the divorce process can ultimately affect their financial well-being for years to come. As such, many people turn to the law firm of Powell Radomsky, PLLC for guidance.

One of the most important decisions that will be made as a person seeks the next chapter of their lives is whether to litigate or negotiate. Resolving issues outside of the courtroom has a variety of different benefits. These benefits include reducing the costs and stress associated with the process and providing more control and flexibility over final agreements.

Helping Virginia children thrive after divorce

Parents in Virginia and across the country typically consider their children their first priority; their children's welfare is one of the most important factors when it comes to making certain decisions. For some people, this could prompt them to stay in an unhappy relationship because of their concern over the impact that it will have on the children. Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take to help their children thrive in the aftermath of a divorce.

For example, one author who writes on family-related issues studied how children of divorce coped. Her research reportedly shows that children who spend approximately equal time with both parents in the aftermath of a divorce report better psychological health and greater self-esteem as adults. Additionally, there are other steps that can help ease children through the transition.

Family law: The role of a prenuptial agreement in Virginia

When couples in Virginia choose to marry, they often do so with the expectation that they will spend the rest of their lives together. However, when many people today do walk down the aisle, many already have significant assets that they have acquired up to that point. Once they get married, however, family law could dictate how certain property will be divided should the marriage end in divorce.

As such, many couples choose to examine the benefits of a prenuptial agreement. A prenup, also known as a premarital agreement, can give couples the power to determine how their assets -- and debts -- will be distributed should the marriage end in divorce. Without one, property will likely be distributed equitably.

Is your spouse up to no good in property division proceedings?

Many issues can have an impact on your children as you navigate the family justice system in divorce. When you filed a petition in a Virginia court, your highest priority was likely to try to move on in life in such a way that your kids would be able to adapt to a new lifestyle with as little stress as possible. Finances is often a big concern for parents who decide to sever marital ties.

Especially if you'll be the custodial parent, you need to be able to provide for your children's needs. The court may order your ex to pay child support. Property division proceedings will also have a significant impact on your post-divorce financial status, which is why it's important to investigate further if you suspect that your spouse is trying to hide assets to keep you from getting money or property to which you may be entitled.

Michael Strahan, ex-wife argue over child support

When people in Virginia divorce and create an initial agreement, they may falsely believe that the agreement is the end of their legal wrangling. However, when circumstances change or a misunderstanding of the terms of an agreement occur, one party may feel that it is necessary to take additional action. For example, the ex-wife of Michael Strahan, former football player and current host of "Good Morning America," is seeking over $547,000 in back child support and other costs.

The couple, who share 14-year-old twins, originally married in 1999 and divorced in 2006. At the time, their divorce was described as amicable. Jean reportedly received an initial settlement of $15.3 million in addition to $18,000 a month in child support, with support payments later being reduced to $13,000.

Determining child custody in Virginia

When a romantic relationship comes to an end and there are children involved, parents in Virginia must make multiple decisions. While the ultimate goal for most parents is to ensure that the transition is as easy as possible for the child, it is sometimes difficult for parents with strained personal relationships to come to a child custody agreement on their own. Fortunately, there are a variety of different options.

In most states, the options for married couples and unmarried couples are, for the most part, similar. Some couples will be able to come to an agreement on their own, often with the help of an attorney or through some other alternative dispute resolution option. If they can not come to an agreement, their case will be heard by a family court judge who will make a determination regarding the best interests of the child.

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Powell Radomsky, PLLC
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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