Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Divorce

By | December 4, 2011
fairfax family law separation

I suspect my spouse is hiding assets. What can I do? 

In addition to using the discovery process to gather information from your spouse, your attorney can issue subpoenas and gather information directly from third-parties such as employers and financial institutions.  Additionally, investigators and experts may be employed to gather and analyze other information.  For example, forensic accountants and computer forensics experts are two common experts employed in divorce matters.

My circumstances have changed since my divorce was final.  What can I do about this?

The court usually retains jurisdiction over child support, custody and visitation orders even after the divorce is final.  Either spouse may petition the court to modify those orders at a later date by alleging that material change in circumstance has occurred and that the proposed modification would be in the child’s best interests.

My spouse has not been complying with the Court’s Order.  What can I do about this?

In many cases, a spouse can move to enforce a court order by filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause.  Such petitions typically require the non-compliant spouse to appear before the Ccurt and demonstrate why he/she should not be held in contempt of court for failing to abide by the court’s order.  In many cases, if the non-complaint spouse is found in contempt, the spouse who filed the petition will be awarded his/her attorney’s fees.

My child wants to live with me, but currently lives with my spouse.  Will the court consider my child’s wishes in determining custody?

In Virginia, the “best interests of the child” factors include the reasonable preference of the child, assuming that child is of sufficient age, intellect and maturity to fairly assess what is in his/her best interests.  There is no specific age or criteria of maturity set forth by law.  Usually the court will be more receptive to children as they approach their teen years, but, depending on the facts, a
court may agree to hear from a younger child or refuse to consider the wishes of an older child.

I was granted joint legal and primary physical custody of our child.  I am interested in taking our child and moving out of the area. Can I do this?

Yes, but in most cases you will have to provide your spouse with at least thirty (30) days prior notice of your move.  If your spouse objects to you relocating with the child, a hearing may be held to determine whether the relocation would be in the child’s best interests.

Shortly after our divorce, my ex-wife married a wealthy man.  Can his assets be considered in the calculation of child support?

The income of a new spouse is generally not considered in the child support formula, but it may be relevant to both the child’s needs and your former spouse’s ability to meet her child-related expenses.

My former spouse has remarried and now has another family to support.  Can this impact the child support I am required to receive?

Yes.  If your former spouse has children with his/her new partner, the amount of your child’s support may be modified.

Can I throw my spouse out of the house?

Unless there has been violence or a serious threat of violence in the relationship, a judge may be hesitant to exclude either spouse from the home without a hearing.  After a hearing, however, the judge may order that one party have exclusive use and possession of the residence pending a final disposition of the property.

Can I just throw out my spouse’s stuff?

Yes, but it would not be wise.  You may be found liable for the cost of replacing those items.  Moreover, such behavior may motivate negative by your spouse, place you in a negative light in the judge’s eyes, and/or increase your attorney’s fees.

Can I open my spouse’s mail, including email?

No. If you receive any mail addressed solely to your spouse, it should be forwarded to him/her by you or through your attorney.  It is improper (and may be illegal) for you to open your spouse’s password protected email communications.

If you’ve got questions about the information above, please feel free to drop me a line.  Jason A. Weis, Esquire – Curran Moher Weis P.C. – jweis@curranmoher.com – 10300 Eaton Place, Suite 520, Fairfax, VA 22030 – 571-328-5020.

 




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