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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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Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce in Virginia


Like a handful of other states, Virginia allows the use of collaborative process, including for divorce. If you are not familiar with the term, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with collaborative divorce, along with its potential benefits and negative aspects.

What is a Virginia Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a process that allows both spouses to communicate and decide divorce terms on their own. It is done outside of the court, and will rely on the guidance of various professionals, including their own attorneys. It is often a more peaceful process, and spouses are left feeling more satisfied since they were directly involved in their own divorce settlement.

Couples who opt for a collaborative divorce are required to sign a document confirming they will not pursue further litigation. In the event the matter doesn’t resolve, and one side wants to pursue litigation, the spouses are both required to let their attorneys go, as they are prohibited from representing either party in the new proceedings.

Potential Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce can offer a variety of benefits to both parties. It can save time, and help resolve your divorce faster. There are no court dates or deadlines, so you can move things along more easily.

You can save money as well, because you will not be paying for expensive experts or prep work for formal court proceedings and various hearings. Instead of each side hiring their own experts, you and your spouse agree to consult with experts together and you split the cost.

For couples who are concerned about privacy issues, a collaborative divorce offers a more confidential divorce solution. Because nothing is filed with the court, the divorce settlement is not part of the court’s public record.

Potential Downsides to Collaborative Divorce

There are certainly a number of undeniable benefits when you opt for collaborative divorce, but there are also some potential negative aspects you need to consider as well. In order for the collaborative divorce process to effectively work, you have to be sure your soon-to-be ex is honest in disclosing all their accounts, assets, and various debts. Since lack of trust is often a reason people are getting a divorce in the first place, this may be a difficult hurdle.

As mentioned above, if the collaborative process breaks down or you don’t reach an agreement, both spouses are required to hire new attorneys. This will mean starting from scratch and paying a new attorney to get up to speed with your case.

Also, your ex could use the information presented in the collaborative process against you at some point. Or the shared expert may work against you in some situations, like placing a value on a business. Not having your own independent analysis means you might lose money if you don’t necessarily agree.

If there are any allegations involving domestic violence, a judge may not allow your collaborative divorce agreement either.

Retaining a Virginia Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about collaborative divorce or are planning on filing for divorce soon, it’s important to speak to a skilled Virginia divorce attorney. Contact the team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule a 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!