Virginia Beach Divorce Lawyer

One of the most fulfilling aspects of our life can involve being married to a person that we love. Sadly, situations arise that can cause two individuals who were once so happy to now be to the point where they have decided that divorce is their only option. Our Virginia Beach divorce lawyers recognize that this can be an extremely difficult time for all parties involved. The family law attorneys at Parks Zeigler have many years of legal experience in handling cases of this nature and can provide the legal representation necessary to handle your case. Call Parks Zeigler, PLLC, and schedule an initial consultation at our law office.

How Can a Lawyer Assist Me with Issues Related to My Divorce Case?

One serious problem that a husband and wife often face is the issue of divorce. When two individuals enter into a marriage, neither individual ever wants to contemplate that they may eventually end up in divorce court. They most certainly never think that they will require the assistance of a family law attorney in Virginia Beach. This is especially true when thinking about a possible divorce, child custody issues, or spousal support. We recognize that each person’s circumstances regarding divorce are unique.

The divorce process can, by far, be one of the most serious challenges a person can have to deal with in their lifetime. This situation is made even more difficult if domestic violence or children are involved. Consequently, issues such as parental rights and subsequent legal responsibilities need to be addressed and decided in divorce proceedings. If it becomes necessary, we can also assist individuals in their divorce cases. Some important legal terms to understand in regard to divorce cases include the following:

Uncontested Divorce

This type of arrangement occurs when both spouses agree to the terms of a divorce without placing blame on the other party. Both parties mutually agree on the division of assets, support payments, custody arrangements, and any other necessary details that pertain to their divorce.

Contested Divorce

In this type of divorce, neither party can agree on the details that involve their divorce, such as child custody arrangements, spousal support, or property division. Contested divorces often involve going to trial in order to resolve disputes between the two parties.

Legal Separation

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize legal separation. However, there is the option of a limited divorce which may have its own advantages, such as the ability to retain health insurance benefits. Nonetheless, the legal grounds for a limited divorce differ from the grounds required for a final divorce, which are cruelty, desertion, or abandonment.

Dissolution of Marriage

This term simply refers to the legal termination of a marriage.

Collaborative Divorce Agreement

This is a legal process where all parties involved and their respective legal counsel agree to work together toward a resolution of all the issues that pertain to their divorce case without actually having to go to court.

Property Settlement Agreement

Also known as a separation agreement, these are legal contracts that are used to settle all the obligations and interests and determine the rights of separating or divorcing parties.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is drafted before a couple is legally married. It is, in essence, a legal contract between the two spouses that outlines property division and the allocation of other marital assets in the event of a divorce. Even though this agreement, also known as an antenuptial agreement, is determined at the beginning of marriage, there may come a time when one of the parties involved in the divorce proceedings feels that the terms and conditions set forth should be challenged on legal grounds.


Another potential legal avenue utilized in divorce cases is mediation. In Virginia, mandatory mediation is required in cases where custody or visitation matters are being contested by one or both parents. Two of the stipulations involved in this type of arbitration are that each party must be represented by an attorney, and there must also be no allegation of domestic abuse.

Court Order

Often, it is necessary to file a court order in divorce cases. One such order in Virginia is termed a pendent lite order which has the ability to order one spouse to pay temporary spousal or child support, provide financial assistance to help pay bills associated with the marital debts or costs connected to the home, or prevent the opposing parties from harassing each other. Our law firm has the ability to represent and advocate for you in all matters that pertain to court orders.

Child Custody and Visitation

This is where it is determined who will have primary legal custody of the child. During the course of a divorce, the issue of who the child will eventually live, along with deciding the visitation schedule, can be extremely contentious. Because of the strict laws that revolve around child custody, it is extremely vital that you hire an experienced family law attorney to assist you in handling all of the legal issues that will eventually need to be decided. Some of the types of child custody include:

Sole Custody

In the case of sole custody, one parent assumes primary control of the child’s emotional, physical, and moral development. This parent, also known as the custodial parent, has the legal authority to determine all major decisions for the child. This type of custody arrangement is rare in Virginia and is generally limited to cases where a parent has abused a child, parental alienation has occurred, or access to the child has been unreasonably denied to the other parent. Even if parents do not necessarily get along well with one another, ordering sole custody has not been deemed to be in the best interest of the child. It is the feeling of the courts that children do better if both parents are actively involved in their lives.

Primary Custody

In primary custody, both parents have parenting time with the child; however, one parent has the child the majority of the time, and the other parent has visitation with the child less than 90 days per calendar year. This is the most common type of custody arrangement in Virginia as it is regarded as being in the best interest of the child’s emotional development.

Joint Legal Custody

This type of custody refers to the decision-making process in regard to the child’s best interests. Even if the child lives primarily with one parent, also known as the primary physical custodian, both parents have the legal ability to share in making the important decisions that affect the child’s well-being. This is the most common type of legal custody arrangement in Virginia as it is regarded as being in the best interest of the child’s development.

Shared Physical Custody

This refers to a custody arrangement where the child splits their time between both parents. This can include a child spending the summer with one parent or alternating living with each parent on a weekly basis. This type of custody arrangement is less common than that of joint custody. Typically courts in Virginia order primary physical custody to one of the parents but also with the consideration of joint legal custody between the two parties.

Spousal Support

This is the payment that one spouse is obligated to pay to the other in an effort to avoid financial hardship. Payment eligibility does not depend on gender, as either spouse can request spousal support. Typically, this is determined when a divorce is finalized, but a short-term judicial ruling for temporary spousal support can be issued through means of a court order. This order would generally remain in place until a final judgment of divorce is granted.

Father’s Rights

In Virginia, the courts do not naturally favor a mother in cases that involve child custody or visitation rights. Judges make their determinations based on what they deem to be in the child’s best interest. As such, this gives precedence to the fact that fathers have an equal right to gain custody of their children.

When family law cases such as these occur, many other sensitive issues often arise that overlap one another and you, which would cause you to require the legal services of an experienced family law attorney. Some examples of this include divorce and visitation issues or mediation with the need for temporary spousal support. The various aspects surrounding family law are distinct to each family situation and their particular situation. At Parks Zeigler, LLC, we understand your concerns and will work diligently to be sensitive to your individual needs while fighting for your legal rights.

What is Considered to be Abandonment in a Marriage?

Abandonment, also known as desertion, is the act of intentionally leaving a marriage with the intent of the separation to be permanent. This act would go against the desires of the other spouse. This would not include separating after a mutual agreement to do so or simply taking a trip without your spouse. There are several factors that must all occur in order to prove spousal abandonment:

  • The other spouse did nothing to account for the spouse leaving.
  • The intention of the spouse who left was to end the marriage.
  • Leaving was against the wishes of the spouse who was left.

All three of these factors must have occurred in order to successfully prove abandonment. It is essential that you understand that if your spouse informs you that they are considering leaving, do not agree. If you are considering leaving the home that the two of you share, do not do so without consulting with one of our divorce attorneys in Virginia Beach beforehand.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce?

According to Virginia law, it is necessary for you and your spouse to live apart from one another for at least a year before you are eligible to file for an uncontested divorce. If you have no minor-aged children, as well as a legally signed separation agreement, you may file after the period of six months. If you are facing a contested divorce, the time may be significantly longer as this requires proof of the various legal grounds that are involved. If you have a valid prenuptial agreement, then this could make the division of property simpler and thus speed up the divorce process. However, if you have minor-aged children and the issues of child support, custody, and visitation need to be addressed, this could add a considerable amount of time to your case. A Lawyer in Virginia Beach could file all legal matters correctly, decreasing the chances of a procedural delay in a divorce.

Contact a Virginia Beach Divorce Lawyer to Discuss a Case

No one ever anticipates that they will eventually have to go through the traumatic process involved with a divorce. At Parks Zeigler, PLLC, we understand that this is a highly stressful time in your life, and having to obtain legal representation can seem daunting, to say the least. Our experienced Virginia Beach divorce lawyers strive to treat each client with the caring and compassion that they need as we work to maintain and preserve your legal rights. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
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200 N. Water Street,
Suite 2A

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
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