Virginia Divorce Law: What Does a Court do in a Divorce Case?

One of the most important things that people looking into a divorce often don’t know going in is what a court is doing in a divorce case. It is important to understand the basics of what goes into a divorce case before going to see a lawyer. That way, you can start getting information together that your lawyer may need in order to help you with your divorce case.

So what are the two major things that a Virginia court deals with in a divorce, and what should you prepare to help your lawyer and to save time?

Virginia Divorce Courts Decide Issues Related to Children

If you and your spouse have children together, one of the major things that a Virginia court has to deal with is how to handle who takes care of the children and how the costs of raising children is shared. These concepts are known as custody, visitation and child support.

There are two different types of custody; legal custody and physical custody. I discuss the major categories inside each of these types of custody in other articles. Legal custody, simply put, is how decisions are made for health treatment and schooling. Physical custody, simply put, is where the children are primarily living. Visitation deals with how often the “non-custodial parent” gets to the see the children.

Child support is simply the amount of money that Virginia law says a child needs to receive from their parents in order to thrive. There are many different ways to calculate child support depending on a lot of different factors.

Virginia Divorce Courts Decide Issues Related to Debt and Money

The other major area that a Virginia court has to deal with in a divorce is money and assets. Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse acquired things that were worth a lot of money. It is also likely that you acquired debt as well.

Virginia courts need to determine how best to divide debt and money. There are also a lot of factors that go into dividing debt and assets. I discuss these factors in a different post.

What You Should Prepare for your Divorce Lawyer

The best way to save time and money before meeting with your lawyer is to create an outline out of how you believe these two areas should be dealt with. For example, you should create a plan on where the children will be living and how often the other parent gets to see the children. This includes holidays and summer. Also think about what schools you want your children going to and if you have any objections to certain types of medical treatment.

You should also have a list of all the assets and debt that you have that was acquired during the marriage. It may be a good idea to identify a proposed way of dividing these things including who you believe should get certain items and who should take on certain debt. These lists are helpful to lawyers, as it tells them what your ideal outcome is.