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military divorceChild custody determinations are among the most contested aspects of a divorce or separation. While these issues are difficult for nearly everyone, the unique circumstances of military service members can make child custody disputes particularly complicated. While child custody matters are determined by state courts, there are certain issues that arise in military divorces that may not arise in divorces in which both parents are civilians.

Military members are subject to lengthy deployments as well as being reassigned to different locations, situations which may significantly impact the ability of divorced or separated parents to share parenting rights and responsibilities. As a result, all of the branches of the military require single parents or dual-member households to have a family care plan to deal with the issues that may be raised in the event of a deployment or relocation. Because of the complicated legal issues that can be raised in a military divorce where child custody is an issue, any military member or military spouse considering a divorce should consult with a Virginia military divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

What is in a Family Care Plan?

A family care plan details what happens to any children a service member may have in the event the service member is absent for a period of time. It is a collection of documents that determines the following:

  • Who shall provide care for a service member’s children in the event of his or her absence
  • Who shall provide for a service member’s other dependents in the event of his or her absence
  • Who shall have short term custody in the event of a no-notice deployment
  • Who shall have long term custody if it becomes necessary
  • Information about how any children will be supported financially  during the service member’s absence

It is important to note that while a family care plan does not create or deny any rights, it can be an effective tool in establishing evidence of responsible parenting in the event of a child custody dispute.

Contact a Virginia military divorce lawyer today

If you are a military member or military spouse considering a divorce, you should discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with Raymond B. Benzinger, call our office today at (703) 312-0410.

no fault divorceHistorically, the government has taken an interest in keeping married couples together. Prior to the advent of no-fault divorce, the party seeking a divorce must have established some ground for the divorce, such as marital misconduct or habitual drunkenness. Virginia is one of the states that still recognizes fault grounds for divorce, but has also established a ground which does not require fault. Because of the complexities of Virginia family law, anyone seeking a divorce should discuss their case with a Virginia divorce lawyer before taking any legal action.

Virginia law recognizes two types of divorce – divorce from bed and board and divorce from the bond of matrimony. Below is some information about each.

Divorce from Bed and Board

Divorce from bed and board is a partial divorce in which the parties no longer cohabitate but are not yet allowed to remarry. There are two grounds that are recognized as valid for this type of divorce:

  • Willful desertion and abandonment – This ground requires that one party end cohabitation with an intent to desert the other party. Importantly, consensual separation is not sufficient to establish ground for this type of divorce.
  • Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm – “Cruelty” refers to act that cause bodily harm and make a spouse’s living conditions unsafe.

As a partial divorce, divorce from bed and board can be merged into a decree for a full divorce (discussed below) after a year after the parties have separated.

Divorce from the Bond of Matrimony

Divorce from the bond of matrimony is a complete and final divorce. The grounds for this type of divorce are:

  • Separation – This is Virginia’s version of a no-fault divorce. A complete divorce will be granted if the spouses can show that they have intended to and in fact have lived apart continuously for more than one year. If there are no children and the parties have entered into an agreement regarding property or separation the time they must be apart is only 6 months.
  • Adultery, sodomy, or buggery – Adultery refers to sexual relations with another person, sodomy means a sexual act other than intercourse, and buggery refers to a sexual act against nature, such as bestiality.
  • Conviction of a crime – if either spouse has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than one year in prison, the other spouse has grounds for a complete divorce.

It is  important to note that while Virginia law allows for no-fault divorce, fault may still be an issue when determining the division of marital property or awarding maintenance (alimony) to either party.

Contact a Virginia divorce attorney today

If you are considering getting a divorce, you should discuss your case with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Virginia family law attorney Raymond B. Benzinger, call our office today at (703) 312-0410.

Division Of Property A married couple often has a decent amount of property and assets. First, each spouse likely came into the marriage with some property of their own. Next, the couple likely acquired a significant amount of property during the course of the marriage. When a couple divorces, how that property will be fairly divided is an important issue that should never be taken lightly. You should always have the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure you receive a fair and equitable property settlement.

First, an attorney will help you differentiate separate property from marital property. In Virginia, only marital property will be divided between the spouses. Separate property usually includes:

  • Property owned prior to the marriage
  • Gifts to one spouse from a third party during the marriage
  • Inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage
  • Some personal injury settlements

Almost everything else acquired during the marriage is considered marital property.

Furthermore, equitable division of property does not always mean that a couple splits everything 50/50. Sometimes, it makes more sense for couples to negotiate and make trade-offs with certain types of property or assets. For instance, in many circumstances, one spouse—especially a custodial parent—will want to remain living in the family home. In such situations, it would not make sense to sell the house and divide the profits. Instead, deals can be made so one spouse takes over ownership of the home and the other spouse receives compensation for their share in a different, fair manner.

If the spouses cannot agree on the property division, they may want to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before dragging the argument into court. Raymond Benzinger is experienced in mediation and conciliation services to assist couples in negotiating and reaching an agreement on property division without the expense, stress, and time delay of litigation.

No matter whether you have a little bit of property or a very high net worth, property division is one of the most important determinations in every divorce. If you are facing divorce, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger at (703) 312-0410 for assistance today.

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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