Divorce FAQ

Questions about Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Divorces?

Many of our clients have the same questions and concerns about divorce, including questions about spousal support, property division, and more. Our Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. divorce attorney created a list of some of the most frequently asked questions below. While this is a great place to get basic information, if you have more questions, please do not hesitate to call our law office now.

Q: What is a divorce?

A: A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. During divorce proceedings, the courts will determine issues related to custody and visitation of children, spousal support and child support, and the distribution of property.

Q: What is the difference between a “No Fault” divorce and a “Fault” divorce?

A: A Fault divorce is a divorce that is based on the wrongdoings of a spouse, or both spouses. By example, fault grounds may include adultery, cruelty or abuse, and desertion. Fault grounds may affect how property is divided or an award of spousal support. A No Fault divorce enables parties to divorce after being separated for a statutory period of time, often six months or one year, without blaming the other spouse for the divorce. In the District of Columbia, only No Fault divorces are available. In Virginia and Maryland, both Fault and No Fault divorces are available.

Q: What is spousal support and will I get it?

A: Spousal support, also referred to as “alimony”, is a sum of money that is paid by one spouse to the other each month for a period of time, or permanently. Whether you are eligible to receive spousal support depends on several factors. Unlike child support, there is no presumptive amount of spousal support that will be awarded based on a set formula in Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C. Rather, the court considers a variety of factors, including the parties’ incomes, health, length of the marriage, standard of living during the marriage, contributions to the other spouse’s career development, earning capacity and more to evaluate a request for spousal support.

Q: How is the Court going to divide my property and assets?

A: Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia are Equitable Distribution jurisdictions, which mean that the Court will divide marital property based upon several factors that yield a fair and equitable result. Generally, marital property is any property acquired after the date of marriage, except gifts and inheritances. Some of the factors the Court considers to equitably divide property include the monetary contributions each party has made to the acquisition and maintenance of the property, the reasons for the divorce, contributions to the well-being of the family, tax consequences, and more. There are many complex concepts and intricacies involved in the distribution of property, so it is important to consult with an attorney to ensure that your property rights and assets are protected. At M.C. Thomas & Associates, our Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia divorce lawyers will listen to the facts of your case and analyze them in light of all of the factors considered by the Court to determine the best strategy for your case.

Q: What happens to the inheritance I received during the marriage?

A: A gift or inheritance received during the marriage will remain your separate property. If, however, you mix your inheritance with marital property, known as “commingling,” or your spouse does something to significantly increase its value during the marriage, it may be subject to division by the Court. The concept of commingling separate property with marital property is complex and should be discussed with one of our Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia or Montgomery County, Maryland divorce lawyers.