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People typically arrive to their divorce lawyer consultation with pre-conceived notions about what a divorce entails. Often, these are false. So, don’t place too much stock in what you have heard and read online. Here are some of the common misconceptions we hear and the truth behind the matter.

“We have to go to court if we don’t agree on everything.”

While some divorce cases end up in a final hearing with a judge, most can be resolved beforehand. The decisions regarding child support, property, and child custody must be made by someone. But, who better to make those decisions than the parties themselves? True, they may need help getting there, but tools exist for this purpose.

Mediation can be utilized before or after filing for divorce. This is where the parties sit down with a trained mediator, who guides communication and helps the parties reach a resolution. Another option is collaborative law, which involves both parties hiring specially trained attorneys who work together, rather than against each other, to help the parties resolve their differences.

“If I move out, I will lose my rights to the house.”

False. If you move out of a shared residence, you do not forfeit any rights you might have to ownership of or equity in the residence. While you don’t lose rights to the house, deciding to live in separate places is complicated. We recommend discussing the financial, legal, and practical implications with your divorce attorney.

“We have to live separately for a year to get divorced, so I don’t have to plan right now.”

Even if you are living in the same house, if you are considering divorce or your spouse has mentioned it, you need to seek legal counsel ASAP. This will help protect your rights and ensure that your actions don’t have negative impacts on your case in the long-term.

“He gets to keep everything because it’s in his name.”

In Virginia, anything acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and may be considered in the division of property by the court, regardless of whose name is on the title.  This also applies to debt incurred during the marriage, so it may be allocated between the parties. Property classification is complex, but a divorce attorney will discuss it with you and ensure that you are fully informed.

“We can renegotiate/cancel the agreement if I think it’s not working.”

Big no. If you and your spouse signa n agreement, you may not be able to change it, even if you signed it without having a lawyer advising you, even though it might be oppressive or unfair. Always discuss the legal and practical effects of an agreement with your divorce lawyer before you sign anything.

“I don’t need a divorce lawyer since my spouse already has one.”

In Virginia, a lawyer can only represent one person in a divorce proceeding. They can never represent both parties. Each party in the divorce should have their own divorce lawyer to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.

Divorce Lawyer Near Me

Remember that the choices you make during your separation and divorce proceedings will have significant effects on your life, and your children’s lives. Consult with a divorce lawyer in Alexandria, VA or Leesburg, VA to make sure your rights are protected and you understand your options. The attorneys at King, Campbell, Poretz, and Mitchell can help you make the best choices for you and your family. Contact us today to learn more.

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