Virginia Family Law Blog

Remaining civil could help with child custody arrangements

No parent wants their decisions to negatively affect their children. Still, many Virginia parents may worry that getting divorced and having new child custody arrangements will have negative impacts on their kids. While it can certainly take time to adjust, parents can help make the transition easier for everyone involved.

If divorced couples choose to co-parent, they will continue working together to raise the children. This is becoming a popular custody arrangement, as it allows both parents to remain in their children's lives and allows the children to maintain healthy relationships with both parents. Of course, it also means that the parents have to continue to interact with each other. If parents want co-parenting to work, they may want to focus on remaining civil toward one another.

The role of therapy in helping children get through divorce

Regardless of the ages of children whose parents are getting divorced in Virginia, the emotional toll that such a significant change in the family dynamic creates, can undoubtedly affect them in numerous ways. While children are resilient in many ways, they often require committed love and understanding in being able to overcome the challenges associated with divorce. 

The reactions and responses of children whose parents are separated and working toward divorce will vary drastically depending on several notable factors. These factors may include the following:

  • The age of the children in the family. 
  • The relationships the children have with each of their parents. 
  • The environment the children have been brought up in. 
  • The presence or lack of a strong support group of friends and family. 
  • The unique behavioral and personality traits of each child. 

Detailing COBRA coverage guidelines

Many in Alexandria may view spousal support as being limited to alimony payments. Yet there may be other ways through which one is obligated to support their ex-spouse after their marriage has ended. Given that (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) over 67 percent of Americans have their health insurance coverage through a private plan, there is a strong possibility in many divorce cases that one spouse was covered under the other’s plan (which in most cases is offered through their employer). If that spouse is not able to immediately secure gainful employment (that offers benefits), are they to be left uncovered after their divorce becomes final?

Fortunately, federal lawmakers understand the potential for such a scenario occurring and have enacted legislation to address it. The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act allows people who are no longer affiliated with the organizations that sponsored their group health plan coverage to continue to have access to it. This allows them time to find new coverage without having to worry about being saddled with medical debt if they need to seek treatment before enrolling in a new plan. Information shared by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that in order to qualify for COBRA coverage, one’s case meets the following criteria:

  • Their group health plan coverage must have been sponsored by a company subject to COBRA regulations
  • They must be an eligible beneficiary of such coverage
  • They must have experienced a significant life event

Valuing art during divorce can be tricky but necessary

Getting a divorce is not easy for any Virginia resident. However, it can be more complicated for individuals like you who may have certain unique items or a considerable amount of wealth that could go through division during your legal proceedings. Understandably, you will want to make sure that you are not taken advantage of during your case.

If you have works of art that you believe to hold significant value, you will certainly want to ensure that the works receive a proper valuation. The monetary value could play an important role when it comes to property division proceedings. You may want to fight to retain ownership of all of the pieces, or you may want to ensure that you receive other assets that have similar value to the works your soon-to-be ex-spouse receives.

Managing debt during and after a divorce

Most Virginia residents are aware that lot of attention is commonly given to how assets will be split when a couple gets divorced. This is certainly understandable as the need to sell a house, move out of a family home, give up half of a retirement account or other experiences can be hard to accept. The process can even leave some people concerned about how they will live on their new single-earner income if they had previously enjoyed a lifestyle supported by two incomes. These concerns can grow when a person ends up taking on some of the couple's joint debt as well.

The property division aspect of a divorce must address a couple's debts as well as the couple's assets. Exactly which spouse ends up being responsible for which debt can vary based on a variety of factors. As explained by SoFi, the official date on which the couple separated may well play an important role in determining when any joint debt ceases to be accrued. This will help to determine what debts must be split and what debts are to be considered the sole responsibility of one of the spouses.

Plan ahead for college during a divorce

If you are one of the many parents of students who are in high school when you face an impending divorce, you might be very concerned about how you will pay for your kids to go to college. Many other Virginia parents have faced this dilemma as well. It can be hard enough to fund a college education when parents are married but affording this experience on a post-divorce budget can be extra difficult.

CNBC recommends that you make it a priority to have decisions about which spouse will be responsible for what portions of a college education put into your divorce settlement agreement. There are many ways that you could set this up. One spouse could provide an up-front payment of a one-time lump sum that is put away into a special account for the kids when they are ready to go to college. You could simply agree to split the costs evenly.

Your mortgage during a divorce

If you and your spouse are embarking on a divorce in Virginia, you will need to determine how to split your marital assets and debts. For most couples, their primary residence is their biggest asset but is also connected to their biggest liability in the form of a mortgage. You should be very careful in how you decide to assign ownership of your home and responsibility for this mortgage should you opt not to sell your home when you get divorced.

Your spouse might wish to keep your family home, even citing stability for your children as a main reason for doing so. This is an understandable desire but it is not without its potential downfalls for you if it is not executed properly. As explained by The Mortgage Reports, you must ensure that your name does not remain on any active mortgage in order to prevent any future financial connection to or liability for the home.

Is my health in danger if I get divorced?

If you and your spouse in Virginia have come to the decision that you are better off separate than together, you will have many things to focus on as you untangle your joint lives. While focused on the logistics of how to divide your assets and your debts, how you might share time with any children you have together and other things, it can be all too easy to not take care of yourself and your own health. 

In fact, some research has shown that divorced people might be at a greater risk of some health conditions. MarketWatch explains that a Johns Hopkins University study showed people who are no longer married have a 20% greater chance of developing conditions like diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

Was your lavish wedding the start of your marital stress?

Beautiful weddings don't just happen. They take planning, preparation and, in many cases, lots and lots of money. Those in wedding industries know how much a bride and groom may be willing to sacrifice for a dream wedding, and they continue to raise the bar. Before you know it, you have hired separate photographers and videographers for the wedding preparation, the ceremony and the reception. You have purchased numerous outfits for pre and post celebrations. You have bought party favors, engraved cake servers and gifts for the wedding party.

Like nearly half of all engaged couples, you likely went into debt to pay for your wedding, reception and honeymoon. In fact, you and your partner may have had disputes about the cost of the wedding. If you are considering divorce at this time, it is possible that you can trace the troubles in your marriage to the extravagance of your wedding.

When is spousal support awarded?

Commonly known as alimony, spousal support are monies paid to a former spouse at the end of a marriage. Not all divorces involve spousal support, as the judge will review a number of factors to determine whether you or your ex should make payments. explains a few of the reasons why a judge might not order spousal support at the end of a marriage. 

Spousal support allows a former spouse to maintain the same standard of living as was present during the marriage. This is why marriages that are short in duration don't often entail an alimony order. The logic goes that it's much easier for both spouses to return to their previous financial position after a shorter period of time has elapsed. This might not be the case with a marriage that lasted 20 plus years, especially if one spouse assumed the role of primary breadwinner during the relationship. 

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