Divorce & Family Law
At Wolcott Rivers Gates, we know divorce is a stressful process, and the attorney you choose makes a difference. Our family law attorney division can help you through what may be the most stressful time of your life.
Divorces are either contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means the parties have resolved all matters related to the marriage, such as child custody and support, spousal support and the division of property, assets and debt. When parties agree on these issues, your attorney will draft a separation agreement, which is a binding contract later incorporated into your Final Decree of Divorce. When the parties cannot agree on all issues, it is a contested divorce and a judge will ultimately determine the outcome if the parties cannot reach an agreement. The goal is always to maintain control over your life and reach a settlement agreement. Still, many cases require litigation. Our family law attorneys are respected in Hampton Roads as both skilled negotiators and seasoned trial lawyers.
Child custody and visitation can be highly contentious areas of the law. We understand that you want to have a meaningful relationship with your children. We are here to advise you and help you coordinate a custody and visitation arrangement that will work with your schedule and be in your child’s best interest. This may be done through mediation or litigation if the parties cannot agree. As Hampton Roads is highly populated by parties who relocate, our family law attorneys provide skillful representation in custody cases that involve relocating with the child.
Experience in the Military Community
The Hampton Roads area has a large military presence, and there are specific federal laws that address the division of assets of military members. There are also state laws that can govern the determination of custody and visitation while a military member is deployed. Our family law attorneys have extensive experience in military matters, both from a personal and professional point of view. We can educate both the military member and the spouse on the parameters of a divorce that contains issues related to the military including the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act and the Federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.
Divorce and Business Ownership
Divorce for professionals and business owners is a complex area of family law. Often doctors, lawyers, accountants and business owners have dedicated their lives to building their private practice or business. Upon divorce, it may all be subject to property division by the court. Our family law attorneys work closely with business valuators and appraisers to present a fair and reasonable division of assets or to provide asset protection.
Commingling and Tracing Assets
Other complex equitable distribution cases involve commingling and tracing assets in divorce. For example, one party may own a house prior to the marriage or has invested a large sum of separate money into the marital residence. Upon divorce, the judge needs to hear evidence from the party who owned the premarital property or from the party who contributed separate assets to assess how it will impact the distribution of that asset. Our family law attorneys are experienced in this type of complex litigation and work with forensic accountants when necessary.
Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce
With the changes in the law that now allow same-sex marriages and same-sex divorces, custody cases present unique legal challenges. Our attorneys are on the cutting edge of these issues and committed to obtaining the best outcome for our clients.
Planning in advance of marriage is one way to avoid these stressful situations, both for young professionals who enter into the marriage with assets and older professionals who want to make sure their children from a prior marriage are protected. Our attorneys can negotiate and draft a premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement, which will resolve many issues that arise in a divorce.