The Strength You Need in Adversity
Ending a marriage can be an incredibly complicated process, even when the split is amicable. Whether it’s a contested divorce or uncontested divorce, there are numerous questions to answer and problems to address: Who gets the house? Will someone receive alimony? Does someone have to be at fault? Who pays the joint credit cards? When can you file for divorce?
In any divorce case, many things can influence the outcome. A skilled Charlottesville divorce lawyer will be critical to answering these questions and resolving issues like the division of property, child custody and visitation, and support, either through negotiation or by fighting for you in court. We understand the stakes are high in your divorce. Whether you are expecting a contentious divorce or are looking for a collaborative process, an experienced divorce attorney at Davidson & Kitzmann, PLC will work to protect your interests and secure your future.
Our Family Law Attorneys
Mr. Kitzmann is a partner and co-founder of Davidson & Kitzmann, PLC. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and has been practicing family law for more than 20 years. Mr. Kitzmann is the past Chair of the Family Law Section of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. To read his full biography, click on his picture.
Ms. Mattingly’s practice includes divorce and family law, collaborative law, appeals, and civil litigation. Ms. Mattingly received both her J.D. and B.A. from the University of Virginia. She is former president of the Charlottesville Albemarle Thomas Jefferson Inn of Court. To read her full biography, click on her name.
How We Can Help
Our lawyers have over 30 years of combined experience handling divorce cases at all levels of the court system: from juvenile and domestic relations courts, to circuit courts, to the Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court. As a result, we have faced, and mastered, just about every issue that could possibly arise in a family law case. Click on the following links to learn more about the areas of law which our attorneys can help you with.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Our Process?
We begin with an in-person or telephone conference. The conference generally lasts approximately one hour. The conference is completely confidential. In that conference we learn about the client’s situation and concerns, and we can give the client some initial ideas about options for resolving the client’s concerns. If, at the end of the conference or later, the client wishes to hire us, we will ask the client to sign a representation agreement and to pay an initial deposit of fees. The amount of the deposit depends on the type of case. We then ask the client to complete a comprehensive questionnaire regarding the client’s income, property, children, marriage, separation and other issues. With that information we will, depending on what the client has hired us to do, begin negotiating on the client’s behalf, filing court papers, etc.
What are the Grounds of Divorce?
A divorce case cannot be started and a judge cannot grant a divorce unless one of the parties has “grounds” for the divorce. There are two types of grounds for divorce: fault grounds and no-fault grounds.
What are Fault Grounds?
Fault grounds include:
- Sodomy outside of the marriage
- Conviction of a felony and incarceration of a year or more
What are No-Fault Grounds?
If a couple has no children, and they have signed an agreement resolving all issues between them, a divorce can be filed after six months of separation. If a couple has children, or if they do not have children but have not resolved all of their issues by written agreement, a divorce case can be filed after one year of separation.
What is Separation?
Separation is legally defined as living separate and apart without cohabitation. Some judges find that a couple is separated even if the couple is still living in the same home; other judges will find that a couple is not separated unless the couple is living in separate residences.
Should You Move Out of the Marital Home?
There is not, unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There may be situations, for instance, where you are in physical danger and must move out to protect yourself. If you are not in physical danger, however, and you move out, your spouse may be able to accuse you of abandonment or desertion. If you have children, and move out without the children, your spouse could claim that he or she should have primary physical custody because he or she is in the residence where the children may be more comfortable. If you have children, and move out with the children, your spouse could claim that you are trying to take the children away from him or her. In short, moving out is an incredibly important decision that should be made, if possible, only after considering all of the implications.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
If a couple has signed an agreement resolving all of their issues (such as property division, custody, etc.) and they have been separated for the necessary amount of time (either six months or one year), a divorce can be finalized in several weeks. If, on the other hand, a couple strongly disagree on a number of issues, such that a trial will be necessary to resolve their differences, a divorce could up to a year or more to complete.
What Options Exist for Resolving Our Issues?
A couple have a number of options for resolving their issues. These include each hiring an attorney and negotiating through the attorneys, private mediation, collaborative law, the juvenile and domestic relations district court, or circuit court.
With a passion for helping families, our goal is to support you through the legal process at every turn. If you may be going through a divorce, or are going through one now, please call us at 434-972-9600 or email us using the contact form below.
Please note that the use of our contact form does not create an attorney-client relationship and therefore there is no attorney-client protection for the information you choose to submit to us. As such, please do not submit any confidential or privileged information in the contact form.
We are located in Charlottesville, but our lawyers handle cases in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Greene County, Fluvanna County, Louisa County, Nelson County, Madison County, Orange County, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, and across Virginia.
Davidson & Kitzmann, PLC
211 E. High Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
© 2020 Davidson & Kitzmann, PLC