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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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Do You Need a Temporary Agreement for Pendente Lite Purposes in a Virginia Divorce?


Divorce does not exactly happen overnight, which is why an increasing number of divorcing couples in Virginia sign a temporary agreement for Pendente Lite purposes.

The waiting period between separation and finalized divorce in Virginia is at least six months if you have no children or a year if you share children. It takes a while to file petitions, attend hearings, negotiate, and handle a variety of other divorce proceedings.

Before your divorce decree is final, your living arrangements, finances, child support payments, parenting time schedules, and a wide range of other aspects remain entangled in uncertainty while your divorce case is unfolding.

You need a Leesburg divorce attorney to craft a temporary agreement to protect your finances and ensure stability after calling it quits. However, temporary agreements for Pendente Lite purposes provide protections only when drafted correctly and proofread for errors or any vague language.

What Does a Temporary Agreement Do?

As its name implies, a temporary agreement provides short-term protections in a divorce as long as these protections are agreed upon by both spouses. These protections include virtually all aspects that could be in an eventual settlement agreement or divorce decree such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child support payments
  • Spousal support/alimony arrangements
  • Parenting time schedules

Hiring a Leesburg family law attorney when drafting a temporary agreement is very important to avoid unintended consequences and rule out any possibility of misinterpretation or permanency. If created correctly, temporary agreements have the substantial legal power and can provide critical protection in your post-separation and pre-divorce life.

Why Temporary Agreements Are a Good Thing in Your Virginia Divorce

When done right, a temporary agreement can ensure stability in your pre-divorce life and prevent the negative consequences of your separation. For example, here are the things a temporary agreement can do:

  • Grant one spouse the possession of the house, automobile, or other property
  • Specify that the children will remain in the marital home throughout the divorce
  • Prevent the other spouse from vacationing with your children abroad until your divorce if final
  • Arrange finances to accommodate child support and alimony payments
  • Create a visitation plan or parenting time schedule until the divorce is finalized

Without a temporary agreement, it can be somewhat confusing to go on with your life after the separation and before your divorce is finalized. In fact, a temporary agreement sets the stage for the final divorce decree as it allows you to create a workable, short-term agreement that could potentially become part of your permanent divorce settlement.

A temporary agreement allows both parties to see whether their existing arrangements work fine so that neither spouse is caught off guard when their final divorce decree is issued.

Your Temporary Agreement Needs an Expiration Date

Every temporary agreement must contain wording that gives a definite expiration date. Without one, a judge can treat the agreement as permanent. That is why you need a Leesburg divorce attorney for your temporary agreement to be clearly spelled out as temporary and exclude any wording that offers even the slightest hint at permanency.

Although a temporary agreement may sound a little bit intimidating and confusing, having one can ensure stability and ease the tensions until your divorce proceedings are finalized. Discuss your particular situation with our Leesburg divorce attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC, to create a fair and beneficial temporary agreement. Call at 703-997-4982.


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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!