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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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Contested Divorce under Virginia Law: What are your Options?


In a perfect world, if you or your spouse is unhappy in a marriage, then you may both agree that it is time to part ways and separate property and move on with your lives. Unfortunately, we know that divorce isn’t always that easy and if you got along that well to begin with, then the divorce issue would probably be moot.

What happens, then, if the person you are seeking to divorce is unwilling to cooperate with divorce proceedings? To name a few examples, a contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on how to divide property, share debt responsibilities, determine custody arrangements for minor children, or whether spousal support is necessary. Additionally, what if your spouse flat out refuses to sign divorce papers?

Contesting a No-Fault Divorce in Virginia

A no-fault divorce is possible when parties separate for at least a year if they have children, or six months if they do not have children. The separation must be continuous and parties must both intend that the separation be permanent.

Although a no-fault divorce is often less antagonistic than a fault-based divorce, that does not mean the parties will agree to how their belongings should be distributed or how custody arrangements should work. It is possible that you and your soon-to-be ex spouse will still end up in court.

To avoid contesting a no-fault divorce, parties should seek legal advice from their respective attorneys, to develop a separation agreement that can help avoid costly legal fees that may arise from ongoing litigation.

Contesting a Fault-Based Divorce in Virginia

Under Virginia law, a person may seek to divorce another for a variety of reasons including adultery, previous unknown criminal records, domestic violence and more.

Fault-based divorces are often times more adversarial because someone in the marriage is asserting wrongdoing by the other spouse. Many times this spouse will deny having committed the act they are accused of and not only will the parties have this initial conflict but they will also have to determine how to equitably divide everything they own.

Divorces can be costly, especially a fault-based divorce that is contested by one or both spouses. One way to avoid these costly issues is by having your attorney help you draft a premarital agreement, even if you don’t believe you could ever seek a divorce.

Call the Leesburg Divorce Attorneys if you Legal Need Help with a Divorce

Every divorce is different and while many times, the parties can agree to the separation of their property and personal lives with relatively little conflict, other times the proceedings will be loaded with animosity.

Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is strongly advised even in the most friendly of divorce proceedings, but especially when a divorce is contested. The attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC are dedicated to acting as your advocate in a Virginia divorce proceeding and although you have hopefully only had to deal with divorce once, we have years of experience handling both no-fault cases and cases that end up having to be litigated in court. If you are looking for an experienced and professional divorce attorney, please call our offices today.



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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!