Going through a divorce in Virginia is hard enough. The last thing you need is your attorney piling on to an already stressful situation. For this reason, you need to make sure that you’re working with the best divorce lawyers to get you the best results from an already messy situation.
So, choosing the right lawyer is crucial to the whole process. Different lawyers have their way of doing things. This is governed by their belief systems, philosophies and ideas that may or may not align with your own.
One lawyer’s strength, for instance, might be another’s weakness. One may excel at open court litigation but fail at collaborative divorces. Some believe that mediation is the way to go while others may rubbish it as complete hogwash.
So, you need to choose the best attorney for your unique set of circumstances. That being said, here are the top 3 tips the best divorce lawyers in Virginia give to their new clients when starting the divorce process.
1. Pick Your Preferred Divorce Method
If you’re wondering how to divorce in Virginia, it goes without saying that choosing the divorce route you want to take is the first and arguably the most important decision you have to make. There are different options available for you to choose from.
You want to find a lawyer who has a solid track record in dealing with a particular type of divorce method. Here are some of the routes you can think about.
This is often one of the most popular methods used in negotiating divorce settlements. If one of the burning questions you have about the whole process is: How long does a divorce take in Virginia? Then, you should consider mediation. It’s the fastest option you have.
Remember, the pain-points of most divorces have to do with the sharing of matrimonial assets like properties and businesses, spousal support and child custody. In mediation, each spouse along with their respective divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia hires a neutral third party to serve as the mediator.
Their role here isn’t to make decisions for either party. Instead, they’re present to facilitate the process to help both parties figure out what’s best.
In this process, you and your spouse, as well as your respective attorneys, sign an agreement where the primary goal of the divorce process is to avoid litigation altogether. An agreeable settlement has to be reached by both parties.
The agreement usually has a clause indicating that if both parties have to go the litigation route, then they cannot use their existing attorneys as counsel. This removes the monetary incentive for the respective lawyers to prolong the discussions.
This is by far the lengthiest method of divorce in comparison to its counterparts. It involves taking your spouse to court for the presiding judge to determine what is fair for both parties and enforcing your rights to (presumably) get justice.
Litigation doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get everything you want in the divorce. This is especially the case if your sole purpose for going to court is to get a larger compensation for the pain and suffering your spouse has caused you.
2. Establish What Kind of Legal Services You Require
Consider the following scenario. You and your spouse were married for 20 years before they (or you) filed for a no-fault divorce in Virginia. “No-fault” means neither party is guilty of marital misconduct.
In the 20 years you were together, you acquired some prime real estate. You also own three companies, two of which have taken a massive financial hit in the last three years and one has only recently broken even. The two under-performing companies have accumulated debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You live in a mortgaged home with your four kids aged 10, 13, 14 and 17. The oldest is set to leave for college in a year. You also sustained serious injuries from a slip and fall accident a couple of years ago which has greatly constrained your ability to get a job.
Handling this kind of divorce is requires divorce lawyers who are skilled in handling complicated divorces that have a lot of moving parts. You’ll probably have to pay top-dollar to the firm retained to handle it.
Now, consider this second scenario. You and your spouse had a short marriage lasting three years. During this time, you did not acquire any property together, you don’t jointly own any companies nor did you have any kids in the course of the marriage.
Handling this type of divorce is pretty straightforward. There wouldn’t be any reason to hire some big-shot law firm to handle your divorce for you. You could simply hire a good solo lawyer who’s competent in Virginia divorce laws to knock it out for you pretty fast.
3. Don’t Break the Bank
It’s not every day a person gets divorced. While you certainly don’t want to be spending thousands of dollars in legal fees just to dissolve your marriage, it also isn’t the time to be penny-pinching either. Cheaping-out could cost you a lot more than what you’re trying to save. You need to find the right balance of high-quality legal representation at a cost you can comfortably afford without breaking the bank.
If you earn a six-figure salary and have prime real estate to boot, then yes, you can afford to spend the big bucks to get the premium law firms falling over each other to represent you.
On the other hand, if you can’t afford all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a high-profile divorce, then you need to stick to your lane. You don’t want to end up in bankruptcy court right after your divorce settlement is finalized, do you?
Be honest with yourself and spend only what you can afford. There are plenty of great attorneys in Northern Virginia who won’t charge you an arm and a leg to give you good legal representation.
Make a Difficult Process Easier
Even with the best divorce lawyer on your side, it is still one of the most painful experiences you’ll go through in your life. It’s therefore important to choose an attorney who will be there for you through the highs and the lows.
They’ll hold your hand every step of the way to guide you through the Virginia divorce process. With the right one, you can make a difficult process much easier.
If you have more legal questions, you can also chat online with a Laws101.com attorney where you’ll be instantly connected to a lawyer who can give you legal guidance on your specific case or question.