Helping With Divorce & Child Custody
If you are facing a divorce in Fairfax County or in Northern Virginia, turn to the SRIS Law Group lawyer for help.
First and foremost, do not try to go through a divorce without an experienced lawyer.
Second, when you are dealing with divorce, you need a lawyer who is going to take the time to listen to you and respond to you. The last thing you need is a lawyer who has the attitude that he/she will get back to you when it is convenient for them.
Third, you need a lawyer who has been battle tested in a courtroom.
The SRIS Law Group counsels meet all of the above criteria.
Our family law attorneys have a significant amount of experience trying divorce cases.
Also, our counsels make it a point to do their best to return all client calls within 8 hours. The principal of the SRIS Law Firm requires all of the attorneys in his firm to provide the best customer service possible.
Fairfax Div. Virginia counsels Child Custody Attorneys
The SRIS Law Group counsels will try their absolute best to settle your div. by negotiation. However, if it necessary to go trial to protect your rights, you can be rest assured that they have been battle tested and will not hesitate to fight for you.
Our family law attorneys help clients with the following types of divorce and family law matters:
- Contested and Uncontested Divorce
- Child Custody
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Protective Orders
- Restraining Orders
- Domestic Violence
- Grandparents Rights
- Property & Asset Distribution
- Spousal Support/Alimony
- Other family law issues
So if you are seeking an experienced lawyer who handles divorces, do not hesitate to contact our family law attorneys.
The following are some the questions our clients ask us when dealing with a divorce (herein after referred as div.) in VA:
Do you have Fairfax div. counsels?
Do I need to talk to many div. counsels in Fairfax, Virginia?
How can an Fairfax div. counsel help me?
If my div. in Fairfax VA is contested, do I need a contested div. counsel in Fairfax Virginia
What is the process for getting a div. in Fairfax, Virginia?
Does your firm handle uncontested div. cases in FFX, Virginia?
What is the procedure to make FFX div. filings?
How can a SRIS Law Group VA dissolution of marriage counsel help you?
First and foremost, we will discuss your div. case with you. We will explain to you the different options you have and the pros and cons of each option. We do not require div. clients to come in and sit down and talk with us. Certainly, our clients are welcome to come in and talk with us. However, we understand that clients are very busy and may not have the time to come to the client meeting location. Therefore, we allow clients to consult with us by phone first and let the clients decide whether they need to come in and meet with their div. attorney. To learn more about how a SRIS Law Group counsel can help you, please call us at 888-437-7747 and speak with a div. counsel the same day.
The following are some of the Virginia div. laws:
A. A div. from the bond of matrimony may be decreed:
(1) For adultery; or for sodomy or buggery committed outside the marriage;
Click on above link to read more.
- VA § 20-94. Effect of cohabitation after knowledge of adultery, sodomy or buggery; lapse of five years.
“…. for adultery, sodomy, or buggery, the div. shall not be granted, if it appear that the parties voluntarily cohabited after the knowledge of the fact of adultery, sodomy or buggery, or that it occurred more than five years before the institution of the suit, or that it was committed by the procurement or connivance of the party alleging such act.” Click on above link to read more.
“…from bed and board may be decreed for cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, willful desertion or abandonment.”
- VA § 20-103. Court may make orders pending suit for dissolution of marriage, custody or visitation, etc.
The following is a case that is illustrative of a div. case in :
The factors of . Code § 20-107.3(E) are considered below.
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family.
The parties married in September 1991. They lived in Rockville, Maryland. Mr. McNicholas worked for his father while Ms. McNicholas worked as a cashier at Giant. At first they lived with Ms. McNicholas’ mother. Then they moved to an apartment before their child Ryan was born in February 1992.
The parties then moved to a house. Mr. McNicholas started a carpet cleaning business on the side while Ms. McNicholas earned money providing daycare. The carpet-cleaning business lost money, so the parties moved to Ms. McNicholas’ parents’ home to save money. Ms. McNicholas got a job as an assistant manager at the Limited. Mr. McNicholas went to work at a mortgage company.
Eventually the parties obtained a townhouse in Ashburn, . Mr. McNicholas went to work for a car dealership in Tysons Corner. Ms. McNicholas still worked at the Limited. Both worked long hours and saw little of each other while arranging for day care for Ryan. It put stress on the marriage.
Before Devin was born in August 1998, Ms. McNicholas stopped working at the Limited. After Devin was born, Ms. McNicholas did not work, but stayed home and took care of the home and family.
In August 1999 the parties purchased the marital residence. Mr. McNicholas was working for First Look, and he traveled as part of his work. He also began doing online stock trades. The parties started to grow apart. Mr. McNicholas managed the family finances. He concentrated on his career, lifestyle and making money while Ms. McNicholas stayed home to take care of the children and the marital residence. Mr. McNicholas did manage on weekends and at limited other times to take care of the exterior of the house and participate in the children’s activities.
Until 2002 Ms. McNicholas was the dedicated mother who did everything for the children. She was the mother all of the neighborhood kids looked up to, and she was always doing something for the neighborhood children. But in 2001 for a variety of reasons known only to Ms. McNicholas, she changed. She had a history of a substance abuse problem, but through 2001 she had it under control. However, in 2001 she began to drink again and it got worse as time went by.
A significant amount of evidence was presented as to what Ms. McNicholas did and did not do starting in 2001, much of it not very flattering to her. There is no need to go into detail, but there was evidence about her drinking, the alcohol/drug related incident on her birthday in June 2002 (that led her to stop drinking, but not stop using drugs), her outpatient drug program at Loudoun Hospital Center from August 2002 to March 2003, the failed marriage counseling in the summer of 2002, the parties’ sexual problems, her denial of sex to Mr. McNicholas after he made an effort to help their sexual problems, the torrid, rocky adulterous relationship with Mr. Bergel that she initiated, her abortion after the parties separated (she was not pregnant by Mr. McNicholas), her being gone from the children frequently, and sometimes for long periods without explanation, Mr. McNicholas’ inviting his mother to come live at the marital residence without consulting Ms. McNicholas, the animosity between Ms. McNicholas and Mr. McNicholas’ mother, Ms. McNicholas’ DUI arrest in October 2003, and her continued affairs with other men.
Ms. McNicholas went from the hard working model mother and wife in the 1990’s to the exact antithesis in the 2000’s. She expresses little regret for what she’s done, and dismisses it with “I made a mistake.”
Until the parties separated Mr. McNicholas made almost all the monetary contributions to the well-being of the family. Until 2002 Ms. McNicholas made substantial nonmonetary contributions, but as stated above, that all changed. When the parties separated in September 2002, Mr. McNicholas was making all the monetary contributions and most of the nonmonetary contributions. However, I cannot overlook the significant nonmonetary contributions, as well as some monetary contributions, of Ms. McNicholas for most of the marriage.
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties.
There was no specific evidence of the contributions of the parties toward the acquisition, care, and maintenance of the marital property. However I think it can be reasonably inferred from the evidence that money used came almost exclusively from Mr. McNicholas.
Both parties helped physically maintain the martial residence. Ms. McNicholas took care of the interior, and Mr. McNicholas the exterior.
- The duration of the marriage.
The marriage lasted about eleven years.
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties.
Mr. McNicholas is 35 years old.
Ms. McNicholas is 34 years old.
Both are in good physical and mental health.
- The circumstances and factors contributing to the dissolution of the marriage.
I do not think that any fault or cause of dissolution of the marriage had any impact on the marital property or its value.
- How and when marital property acquired.
The matters relevant to this factor have been discussed above.
- Debts and liabilities of the parties.
The debts and liabilities of the parties are described above.
- Liquid or nonliquid character of the marital property.
Except for the marital residence, the Infiniti, and the motorcycle, the marital property is liquid.
- Tax consequences.
No specific evidence of a tax consequence to either party was presented.
Equitable Distribution Decision
After consideration of the evidence, the statutory factors and all the circumstances of this case, the following is ordered:
(1) The marital residence shall be sold by private sale by the parties through a mutually agreeable agent. If the parties cannot agree on an agent, then they may come to the Court for selection of an agent. The net proceeds from the sale shall be divided equally between the parties. If the lien placed on Ms. McNicholas’ interest by her attorneys prevents an equal division of the net proceeds, then, unless the parties agree otherwise, Mr. McNicholas may bring the issue back before the Court for such other relief as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
(2) The federal and state 2002 tax refund plus any accrual interest and less any charges, if any, shall be allocated to Ms. McNicholas.
(3) All the rest of the marital property shall remain the sole property of Mr. McNicholas.
This decision awards Mr. McNicholas a little over 60% of the martial wealth, which I feel is equitable.
No allocation of marital debts is made. Mr. McNicholas shall continue to be responsible for the loans against the assets he retains.
There exists in favor of Mr. McNicholas a ground of div. for adultery, which would otherwise be a bar to permanent spousal support under . Code § 20-107.1(B). Also, Mr. McNicholas argues that Ms. McNicholas is not entitled to spousal support because she never filed a pleading asking for affirmative relief (she filed no Cross-Bill) and because she now has a job. Ms. McNicholas wants an award of permanent spousal support. She filed an answer to Mr. McNicholas’ Bill of Complaint, affirmatively asking for “spousal and child support for the benefit of Defendant and the children [to] be awarded to Defendant both pendente lite and permanently, by income withholding order through the Division of Child Support Enforcement.” The pleading timely filed by Ms. McNicholas gave Mr. McNicholas notice that spousal support would be an issue.
Mr. McNicholas has a gross monthly income of $ 19,803.00, or a yearly gross income of $ 237,636.00. Ms. McNicholas has not worked since 1998 when Devin was born. Mr. McNicholas never objected to her not working until the parties started having marital difficulties in 2001. She refused to get a job while Mr. McNicholas was making over $ 200,000.00 per year.
Ms. McNicholas did work part time at Gold’s Gym in the summer of 2003, but she left when the children returned to school. The parties were still living under the same roof in the marital residence.
After Ms. McNicholas moved out of the martial residence in January 2004 she secured a job at Nordstom making $ 1,560.00 gross per month. Although she could earn commissions, she has yet to sell enough to earn any commissions. Ms. McNicholas may have a 20% employee discount for things she buys at Nordstroms, but there is no way to quantify the discount in terms of income. Additionally, she has a roommate at her apartment who pays her $ 600.00 per month in rent starting April 1, 2004.
I find that monthly gross incomes of the parties to be as follows:
Mr. McNicholas $ 19,803.00
Ms. McNicholas 2,160.00
Ms. McNicholas’ income is less than 11% of Mr. McNicholas’ income. The debts of the parties are set forth in the Debts portion of Equitable Distribution discussed above.
Mr. McNicholas’ monthly expenses are set forth in his Exhibit 7. He claims total expenses of $ 16,925.00 per month.
Ms. McNicholas’ monthly expenses are set forth in her Exhibit 13. She claims total expenses of $ 3,676.00 per month. This includes the rent for her new apartment of $ 1,555.00 per month.
Under . Code § 20-107.1(B), adultery is not a bar to permanent spousal support if the evidence is clear and convincing that “a denial of support and maintenance would constitute a manifest injustice, based upon the respective degrees of fault during the marriage and the relative economic circumstances of the parties.”
Mr. McNicholas asserts that the fault of Ms. McNicholas caused the dissolution of the marriage. While I think that most of the fault lies with Ms. McNicholas, he is not free of fault. I cannot disregard that Mr. McNicholas spent long hours working (and necessarily away from Ms. McNicholas and the children) and earning the money to support the lifestyle he wanted. He had to acquire the big house. I agree with Ms. McNicholas in her assertion that Mr. McNicholas always wanted the biggest and the best. Mr. McNicholas tried to downplay the sexual problems by emphasizing that Ms. McNicholas rejected his advances after he finally did something to help the problems. He argues that she rejected him because she was then involved romantically with Mr. Bergel. The sexual problems did not develop overnight. I think Mr. McNicholas’ delay in addressing the parties’ problems only compounded them. This is certainly not justification for what Ms. McNicholas did, but it appears possible that by not recognizing that the strain on their relationship may have been in part a result of his long hours at work for the sake of earning more and more money, Mr. McNicholas may have shared in a cause and effect situation.
Considering the parties’ “relative economic circumstances,” Mr. McNicholas’ income is much superior to Ms. McNicholas’.
I think that primarily because of the vastly superior economic condition of Mr. McNicholas as well as the presence of some fault on the part of Mr. McNicholas, it would be a “manifest injustice” to deny permanent spousal support to Ms. McNicholas. I construe “fault” in subsection (B) of . Code § 20-107.3 to refer to any type of fault that led to the dissolution of the marriage and not merely to a fault ground for div. Even if “fault” were limited to fault grounds for div. and thereby eliminating “fault” on the part of Mr. McNicholas (I cannot find that Mr. McNicholas did anything to give Ms. McNicholas grounds for div.), I still think that the vastly superior economic position of Mr. McNicholas would create a manifest injustice if Ms. McNicholas were denied permanent spousal support.
Ms. McNicholas did not file a cross-bill; however, in her answer she did request spousal, as well as child support. I think that her answer meets the procedural requirements for a pleading requesting affirmative relief.
Considering all the factors of . Code § 20-107.1(E), much of which has been discussed above, Ms. McNicholas is awarded permanent spousal support in the amount of $ 1,500.00 per month retroactive to February 1, 2004, payable as required by law.
The parties’ gross monthly incomes are as described above.
I find that there is $ 400.00 per month in extraordinary medical expenses for therapy for the children.
Mr. McNicholas pays $ 309.00 per month for medical insurance for the children.
The presumptive amount of child support payable by Ms. McNicholas to Mr. McNicholas is $ 477.00 per month as shown on the attached Child Support Guideline Worksheet.
I find no reason to deviate from the presumptive amount.
Ms. McNicholas owes child support of $ 477.00 per month retroactive to February 1, 2004, payable as required by law.
Each party wants an award of attorney fees.
Mr. McNicholas asserts the following:
- Ms. McNicholas was less than candid and honest during the proceedings.
- Ms. McNicholas reneged on an agreement the parties reached over a year ago.
- Some of the testimony of Ms. McNicholas is not consistent with her responses to requests for admissions.
- Ms. McNicholas’ counsel advised Mr. Bergel not to appear twice for his deposition; and when he finally was deposed her counsel did not appear.
- Extensive discovery by Mr. McNicholas was necessary.
- The hiring of a private investigator (for approximately $ 20,000.00) to follow Ms. McNicholas was necessary.
- Ms. McNicholas would not settle.
Mr. McNicholas has incurred over $ 62,000.00 in attorney fees and costs.
Ms. McNicholas asserts the following:
- She tried to settle, even went to a mediation session, but Mr. McNicholas refused to settle or mediate.
- Mr. McNicholas demanded that she respond to his settlement offer in one day.
- Mr. McNicholas took too many depositions, and, as a result, her counsel did not attend all of them.
- Mr. McNicholas propounded unreasonable voluminous discovery (seven sets of discovery requests).
- Mr. McNicholas’ counsel’s attorney fee exhibit (Complainant’s Exhibit 52) includes services not applicable to this litigation.
- Ms. McNicholas has been awarded spousal support.
After consideration of all the circumstances of this case, Ms. McNicholas is awarded attorney fees in the amount of $ 10,000.00 to be paid by Mr. McNicholas on or before August 1, 2004.
Court Reporter Fees
Mr. McNicholas has filed a motion requesting that the Court order Ms. McNicholas to pay one-half of the court reporter appearance fee. The motion is denied. The court reporter should be paid by the party hiring him or her.
Let Mr. Plevy prepare the final decree consistent herewith to which he and Ms. Virk may note any exceptions.