domestic violenceNo one should have to be a victim of domestic violence.  Virginia law refers to domestic violence as “family abuse,” which is an act of violence, assault, force, or threat of violence by a household or family member.  Family abuse can include stalking, forceful trapping or detention, sexual assault, or any act that puts you in reasonable fear of potential bodily harm or assault to you or your children.  Virginia law provides certain protections to victims of family abuse by the means of a protective order.  If you have experienced any type of family abuse, you should contact an experienced Virginia family law attorney as soon as possible to help you secure a protective order for you and your family.

“Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence should never hesitate to involve the courts”

–        Sean Smallwood, ESQ., attorney at The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A.

Functions of protective orders

There are three types of protective orders in Virginia and each serves specific purposes.  These three are as follows:

  • Emergency protective order:  This order can be secured on holidays or weekends by a judge or magistrate if you are in immediate danger.  It serves to prohibit any acts of family abuse against you, prohibit any contact between the abuser and you or your family, and remove the abuser from a home if you share one.
  • Preliminary protective order:  This type of order provides all the same protections as an emergency order, plus prohibits an abuser from turning off utilities at a shared home or requires the abuser to provide you with suitable alternative housing, gives you possession of a shared vehicle, and may grant you anything else deemed necessary for your protection.
  • Permanent protective order:  This type of order is granted after a full court hearing and may last up to two years.  This type of order provides all of the above protections plus may order the abuser to seek counseling or treatment, may grant you temporary custody of children with child support, and anything else the court deems necessary for your situation.

Virginia law takes family abuse very seriously and the specific protections you receive will depend on the facts of your particular case.  If you have been a victim of family abuse, do not wait to call the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger for help securing a protective order.

child custodyFew legal issues may become as messy and complicated as custody determinations.  If parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, courts then have the task of deciding where, how, and by whom the child or children in question will be raised.  Courts take this task very seriously and, according to Virginia law, focus on one main factor when making custody and visitation decisions: the best interests of the child.  In examining the best interests of the child, courts may have to dig deep into the details of each parent’s personal and financial lives, which can be uncomfortable to say the least.  A Virginia child custody attorney can help protect your parental rights while trying to make the process as easy as possible.

“Cases involving child custody issues are among the most delicate cases that family law firms will ever handle”

–        Sean Smallwood, ESQ., attorney at The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A.

What does “best interests of the child” mean?

Virginia courts favor joint custody whenever possible, since divorce does not necessarily affect your parental rights.  However, the court will always try to determine what custody situation is in the best interest of the child.  Courts try to remain as objective as possible when doing so, and consider factors such as:

  • The age, physical health, and mental condition of the child;
  • The emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of the child and the ability of each parent to fulfill them;
  • The age, physical health, and mental condition of each parent;
  • The role each parent has previously played in the child’s life, including existing emotional relationships;
  • The willingness of each parent to encourage relationships with the other parent and to cooperate with each other regarding decisions for the child;
  • Any history of domestic abuse or sexual abuse in the family;
  • The child’s preference, if the court believes the child is old enough to sufficiently understand the nature of this decision;
  • Any other factors that the court deems necessary.

If you are facing a custody battle, the well-being of your child and your relationship with your child are both at stake.  For this reason, you always want to have an experienced family law attorney on your side.  Do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger today for help.

13 Jun 2013


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Arlington Alimony Lawyer

Will there be alimony in your divorce? How much and for how long? While child support is dictated by a strict state formula, spousal support is not. It is awarded at the discretion of a circuit court judge — or by agreement between the parties.

At the Law Office of Raymond B. Benzinger, experienced Fairfax alimony lawyer Raymond B. Benzinger has 25 years of experience in divorce law, and has litigated and negotiated alimony in hundreds of divorces. From his volunteer service in Fairfax County and Prince William County as a Motions Conciliator and Neutral Case Evaluator, he can provide you with insight as to how a judge may rule in your case.

Alimony (Spousal Support After Divorce)

Alimony is never automatic — a good alimony lawyer can make a case for or against it. Alimony is intended to equalize the spouses’ standard of living after divorce. Spousal support is most commonly awarded in longer marriages with great income disparity, especially if the spouse has limited employment prospects.
The court considers several factors, including earning capacity, age and child-rearing roles. But the main criteria are (a) need and (b) ability to pay. Alimony can be awarded for one year or until death or remarriage. Mr. Benzinger can assess your case and advise you on settling out of court or taking your chances with a judge.

Pendente Lite (Temporary Spousal Support)

While the divorce is pending, the court often issues a temporary order for child support and spousal support. It is important to have an experienced Arlington alimony lawyer at this stage to ensure a fair level of support and keep tabs on marital assets controlled by the other party.

Contact Our Virginia Spousal Support Attorney

Call 703-537-5139 to arrange a consultation with Arlington alimony lawyer Raymond Benzinger for an informed legal opinion about alimony in your case. He represents divorcing men and women throughout Northern Virginia.

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