Leesburg Family Attorney
The largest part of our practice is family law. With over 30 years of combined experience we assist our clients in making difficult legal decisions related to divorce and separation, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and other family law matters. We strive to resolve family law cases through mediation and settlement, but are always prepared to aggressively litigate in order to advance our clients best interest.
Below are answers to several common questions related to divorce and family law. Contact our experienced Leesburg family attorneys with other questions or for advice and assistance in a divorce or other family law matter.
How do prenuptial agreements work?
A prenuptial agreement, known in Virginia law as a premarital agreement, is a contract between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage. Once reduced to writing and signed by both parties, the agreement becomes effective upon marriage. Virginia also recognizes marital agreements, which are similar to premarital agreements but are entered into after the couple is already married.
A premarital agreement sets out the rights of the parties in the event the parties later divorce. Typically, the prenup will dictate how issues such as the division of property and the payment of spousal support will be handled in case of a divorce. For instance, the prenup may require a waiver of support, or it may provide for a certain amount of support for a certain period, depending on the length of the marriage at the time of divorce. Other common features of a prenuptial agreement include provisions regarding a will or trust or the making of a life insurance policy by one spouse naming the other spouse as beneficiary.
To be valid and enforceable, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, and it must be entered into voluntarily by both parties. Proving fraud, coercion or duress are ways to challenge the validity or enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. Also, the prenup must be preceded by a fair and reasonable disclosure of a party’s assets and obligations, unless this requirement is waived in writing.
Prenuptial agreements are most often used when the parties entering marriage come from very different economic backgrounds. Another common reason for a premarital agreement is when one or both parties have been married before and gone through a tough divorce, or where one of the spouses has children from a prior marriage, and the spouse wants to ensure their inheritance is protected. At Schwartz Kalina, however, we believe every couple can benefit from the communication and disclosures a prenuptial agreement offers. Our attorneys are here to help you negotiate, draft or review a premarital or marital agreement, to make sure it fairly represents your interests and adequately protects you in case of divorce.
How does paternity affect family law matters?
If a child’s paternity has not been established, the child, in essence, has no legal father. This means the child’s biological father actually has no legal right to custody and visitation. At the same time, the father could not be ordered to pay child support to the mother, who may be raising the child on her own. If a couple is unmarried when a child is born, they must take active steps to acknowledge paternity. Otherwise, their rights and the rights of the child may be severely hampered if the couple later splits up. Apart from voluntary acknowledgment, paternity can also be established in court, with the aid of genetic testing and other evidence which tends to prove or disprove that an individual is the child’s actual father.
Experienced and Dedicated Leesburg Family Attorneys Serving Northern Virginia
For caring, dedicated and effective legal help with a divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter in Northern Virginia, call the Leesburg law office of Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, at 703-667-0954 for a free, initial telephone consultation.