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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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Virginia Divorce Requirements

When two people have irreconcilable differences, divorce is often an unfortunate outcome. When situations reach the point of divorce or separation, individuals may have questions about when and how to file for divorce. The Leesburg attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC have years of experience helping individuals through all aspects of a divorce.

When filing for divorce, it is important to keep in mind there are several requirements. Two of the most important aspects of filing a divorce in Virginia are residency and grounds for divorce. Courts are very strict about these provisions and failure to abide by them may result in delay of your case.

Residency requirements for divorce in Virginia

The first step to filing for divorce is establishing which jurisdiction you will file under. Complaints must be filed in a Virginia Circuit Court. Under Virginia law, the complaint must be filed in:

  • The county or city where the couple last resided together;
  • The county where the defendant resides; or
  • The county where the plaintiff resides if the other party lives out of state.

Courts expect plaintiffs to verify their residency and substantiate it in a sworn complaint. Without proper proof of residency, complaints may be dismissed by the court. Ways to establish residency in a divorce complaint include:

  • Registering to vote;
  • Getting a driver’s license;
  • Register a vehicle; and
  • Opening bank accounts.

Grounds for divorce

Courts further expect plaintiffs to explain their grounds for seeking a divorce. In Virginia, there are two grounds for divorce: no-fault and fault. Depending on the situation, the plaintiff will need to file his or her divorce on either ground.

  • Grounds for no-fault divorce – Parties with children voluntarily lived separately for one year; parties without children voluntarily lived in separation for six months.
  • Grounds for fault divorce – One party alleges the other was adulterous, convicted of a felony and sent to jail, was cruel or abusive, abandoned the other, or is clinically insane

Seeking divorce on the grounds of fault can be an especially difficult and tumultuous undertaking. The other party may have an attorney who will contest the grounds of the divorce or make other similar allegations against the plaintiff.

With emotions riding so high in these types of cases, it is important that plaintiffs seeking divorce have sound legal representation acting on their behalf to prepare strong claims and rebuff and counter allegations. Divorce often has serious implications for the individual’s parental rights, preservation of assets, and financial security so finding the right divorce lawyer can make a world of difference.

Leesburg Divorce Attorneys

Whether you are thinking about filing for divorce or have just received notice of a complaint from your spouse, the divorce attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC can help you throughout the proceedings. Divorce can be even more complicated in cases with minor children or contested assets.

For a consultation about your divorce, contact our office. Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC in Leesburg regularly represents the interests of parties on both sides of divorce and will work hard to achieve a fair and just outcome to your divorce.

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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!