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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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5 Questions to Ask before Hiring a Virginia Divorce Attorney


Choosing the right Virginia divorce attorney is an important step in ending your marriage. Knowing what questions to ask can help narrow down the options and determine whether the attorney you are meeting with is the right one for you. You should have a list of priorities in mind when you meet with a family law attorney.

Here are some important questions you should be asking when choosing your attorney.

How does your fee schedule work?

One of the most important questions you need to ask is how the attorney bills. Many divorce attorneys bill hourly, while some may offer a fixed fee in limited circumstances. Ask about the additional costs that are independent of the attorney’s fees. There will be court filing fees, process server costs, court reporters, and perhaps even expert witness fees that need to be factored in.

What percentage of your practice is devoted to divorce cases?

You need to understand how many divorce cases this attorney handles per year. If your divorce has the potential to be complex, or it involves a lot of assets, you need an experienced lawyer. If the attorney you’re meeting with only handles a couple cases per year or doesn’t specialize in family law, this is not likely to be a good fit. Attorneys who specialize in family law, or have an entire practice devoted to it, will be used to litigating cases, and have a list of experts they regularly work with.

How many cases do you handle at one time?

While you want an attorney who specializes in divorce matters, you don’t want one that is so busy that things will fall through the cracks or you become just another file on their desk. Attorneys who are spread too thin will likely refer matters to other partners or junior attorneys.

How often do you communicate with your clients?

While there is no right answer, you have to decide what works for you. If this attorney only speaks to a client when he or she calls, and you prefer an attorney who will check in at regular intervals, it’s not a good fit. When talking about communication, you should also touch on how long it takes the attorney to return your calls. If you call, will it likely be same day or two days later that you hear back from someone? What about emergency situations?

Who else will be working on my case in your office?

While you hire an attorney, it is their staff that will be working on your case in most instances. This means you want to know the paralegal, legal secretary, and/or any other attorneys who may be working on your divorce. If you love the attorney but you don’t like the legal secretary who is your primary point of contact, you should move on and look for another firm.

If you have questions on divorce in Virginia, or you are looking to retain a family law attorney, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule an initial consultation.

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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!