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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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Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Virginia


It’s not surprising that people have many questions when it comes to divorce and wanting to understand how the process works. Despite the fictional shows that you might’ve seen on television or stories you’ve heard from friends and co-workers, not all divorces have as much drama as a television soap opera.

Retaining a Leesburg divorce attorney is the first step in starting your divorce process. Your attorney can advise you on the exact process, what is unique in your case, and how you can expect things to progress. While every couple’s situation is different, here are some general answers to many of the common questions asked about filing for divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Should I retain the most aggressive attorney possible?

Yes and no. You want a divorce attorney who is willing to fight to protect your rights, but you don’t necessarily want someone who is just going to fight to create problems. This only hurts you in the end because it will end up adding significant legal fees as the process drags on and it could make you look bad to the court.  You need a lawyer who is aggressive at the right time.

I just moved to Virginia. Can I file for divorce right away?

No, that is not the case. Like other states, Virginia has requirements on how long you must live in the state before you’re eligible to file for divorce. One spouse must have lived in Virginia for at least six months prior to the filing date.

If you or your spouse are in the military, the residency requirement can be satisfied by being stationed in Virginia (including on a ship with a home port in state) or living on a federal facility within Virginia. In the event you or your spouse are deployed outside of the country, the residency requirement can be met by showing one of you lived in Virginia for the six months prior to being sent abroad.

Does Virginia allow for no-fault divorce?

Yes, you can file for a no-fault divorce in the state, but you have to be living apart for at least one year with no interruption. This means you can’t live apart for six months then live back together for two months and still file for a no-fault divorce. If you have no minor children, and you create a valid separation agreement, you are only required to live apart for six months instead of a year.

I’ve heard that it’s better to file for an at fault divorce, is this true?

While there may be some benefits to an at-fault divorce, it is much harder to get it approved. The grounds are very limited, and you have to show proof. This may sound easy, but the court procedures are difficult. And, your ex will obviously contest the allegations which means a longer court battle with added expense.  There may be strategic reasons to file a fault divorce so having a good attorney makes all the difference in this regard.

How do I know my ex will be honest during the divorce on assets and bank account amounts?

Start your due diligence now and have copies of bank statements, emails, or any other information that proves what assets you have. Having copies of bank statements that show sudden large withdrawals just before the divorce started is very helpful. In addition, cases where you suspect your ex is hiding or depleting marital assets can benefit from financial experts like a forensic accountant who can search for hidden accounts, trace withdrawals, etc.

Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about divorce or any other family law matters, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule an initial consultation. Let one of our skilled and experienced attorneys help with all your family law needs.


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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!