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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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Going Through an In-Home Separation Prior to Divorce


Seeking a divorce from a spouse usually begins with the parties separating. However, that does not mean you and your spouse can afford to live in two separate households. While many well-to-do families simply have one individual move out into a separate home or apartment, that may be beyond your financial reach. When your situation does not allow for a full separation of your lives prior to a divorce, Virginia gives you the option to go through an in-home separation. To learn more about being separated while living together, contact an experienced Leesburg divorce attorney today.

In-Home Separations Are Valid

Virginia courts have determined that in-home separations are valid since there are circumstances in which people are unable or even unwilling to separate their households before and during a divorce. However, you cannot simply live together as if nothing has changed and expect this to count as a separation to prove irreconcilable differences. A separation is necessary to show the court system that you and your spouse’s marriage is no longer functional and redeemable. If you live together under one roof, you need to take certain proactive steps to show the court you are truly separated despite your living arrangement.

Living Separate Lives In One House

There are certain steps you can take to show a court that you and your spouse are separated even though you still live in the same house. These include:

  • Using separate bedrooms;
  • Ending intimate relations;
  • Separating your finances, including bank accounts and credit cards;
  • Separating your personal expenses;
  • Not purchasing or cooking food for one another;
  • Not doing each other’s necessary chores, such as laundry or cleaning each other’s bedrooms;
  • Establishing times to use common areas like the washer and dryer;
  • Keep socializing together outside of your home to a minimum;
  • Not holding yourselves out as married to the public;
  • Not wearing your weddings rings;
  • Not celebrating anniversaries or each other’s birthdays; and/or
  • Informing family, friends, coworkers, child care and others that you are separated.

All of these facts, when put in writing and supported by your, your spouse’s, and other witness’s testimony, can demonstrate to a court that you and your spouse have been living together as independent individuals and not as a married couple.

Create a Separation Agreement

If you want to make it absolutely clear that you and your spouse are separated, speak with your divorce attorneys about a separation agreement. This contract can state the specific date the separation began and lay out how you and your spouse will handle living arrangements, finances, and time with the kids while going through the in-home separation.

Call a Leesburg Divorce Attorney for Help

If you want to move forward with a divorce but you cannot move out and you do not think your husband or wife can or will move out, then you should consider an in-home separation. However, it is crucial you speak with an attorney about the nuances of this type of situation. If not done correctly, it may not count and you and your spouse will have wasted time and energy.

To schedule a consultation, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC. Our Leesburg attorneys are prepared to help you 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!