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Office Location

  • Alexandria Office


    Lee Street Square
    437 North Lee Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22314

FAQs for Alexandria Law Firm Amole & Bray P.C.

Personal injury questions

Family law and divorce questions

Wills, trusts, and estates questions

Get your legal questions answered in Alexandria

Speak to a friendly and approachable lawyer. Make an appointment with Amole & Bray P.C.

Answers to your personal injury questions

Do I need a lawyer to represent me in my personal injury case?

Yes. If you believe you have suffered a personal injury in the accident, you need a lawyer in the vast majority of cases. Insurance companies have thousands of employees and large staffs of attorneys who deal with your particular kind of case every day. You need a legal representative to level the playing field and to insure you are not taken advantage of. The job of your attorney will be to insure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you have suffered.
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How much do you charge in legal fees?

We operate on a contingent fee basis, meaning that you pay no legal fees until we have won your case, either through suit or settlement, and have collected the money for your damages. We receive one third (1/3) of any amount actually recovered in suit or settlement of your claim.
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Is there a charge for our first meeting?

No. In personal injury cases, the initial consultation is free and after that, we work on a contingent fee basis where we get paid only if we collect money for you.
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How much is my case worth?

In the initial stages it is difficult to accurately predict what the amount of your recovery will be. However, an experienced attorney can provide you with parameters and ranges of your recovery based on the known facts of your case and the extent of your injuries. It is impossible to know the full extent of your injuries until you have reached maximum medical recovery which sometimes can take many months.
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How long do I have to file a legal claim?

In Virginia, you have two years from the time of the accident to file your claim. In the District of Columbia you have three years. However, you should contact your attorney long before the date approaches for the running of the statute of limitations in order to insure that your attorney is able to gather the information needed about the defendant and other facts to prepare and timely file the suit papers.
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Can I talk to the insurance company of the person who hit me?

It is better to contact a lawyer before speaking with the insurance company other than to provide them with your contact information. The more severe your injuries are, the more important it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement to an insurance company.
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If the insurance adjuster wants to settle the case and says I do not need a lawyer should I still get one?

Yes. The adjuster has one master—the insurance company he/she works for, and one goal—to settle your claim for as little money as possible. Although it may seem that the insurance company is offering a reasonable amount, an experienced attorney will almost always be able to get you more money. We urge you to consult with us before making any settlement of your claim with an insurance company.
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If the person who caused the accident has no insurance and I file a claim with my insurance company under my uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, will my insurance rates go up?

No. Based on the information provided by the insurance industry and insurance carriers that we deal with, your claim under the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of your own policy will not affect your rates.
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What if I can’t pay my medical bills while I am waiting for you to process my case?

We routinely work with healthcare providers to see that they do not put you in collection for past due bills. We agree in writing that we will pay their bills out of any settlement or judgment that we obtain. In situations where there is not adequate insurance coverage to pay all of your bills, we can frequently get the healthcare providers to discount their bills so that there is enough money for you to have a financial recovery.
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Answers to your family law questions

What are the main issues to be addressed in a divorce?

The main issues to address in a divorce are the division of property, the distribution of debts and the amount of spousal support, if any. If couples have children, the legal and physical custodial arrangements, the visitation schedules, the payment of health insurance and medical care and the amount of child support will need to be determined.
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How will my property be divided?

Virginia provides for equitable distribution of marital property, which does not necessarily mean equal distribution. Virginia provides a list of factors that courts consider in making a final decision. Among these factors are: Length of the marriage, age and health of the spouses, contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of property, contribution of one spouse to the education or training of the other, custodial provisions for children of the marriage, whether either of the spouses will be awarded spousal support, present and potential earning power of each spouse, the existence of any pre- or post-marital agreements between the spouses, and the circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage including any fault ground.
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Is it possible to receive spousal support before a final disposition of my case?

Yes. Virginia permits temporary or pendente lite spousal support to be awarded until a final disposition in your case. The parties can jointly agree to an amount, or the court can make that determination based on the income of each of the parties. The court bases their finding on the need of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay support to meet that need on a temporary basis.
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Can I get permanent spousal support?

A spouse is more likely to receive an award of spousal support or alimony with no defined duration, where spousal support will continue until the death of either party or remarriage, if there was a long term marriage and the spouse requesting support is near retirement age and cannot become sufficiently employed to support her/himself. With shorter marriages, where the spouse seeking support is younger, the court may award “rehabilitative alimony,” support for a limited duration, to allow the recipient spouse the time and opportunity to obtain more education or training designed to secure economic independence.
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How is spousal support determined?

The court considers the length of the marriage, the income and expenses of each party, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Other factors are: the age and physical and mental conditions of the parties and any special circumstances of the family; any reasons why a party could not be employed outside the home; monetary and non-monetary contributions of the parties; property interests/property division of a party; the earning capacity of each party; whether either party contributed to the other's education; decisions made about parenting arrangements and the cost of getting needed education or training.
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How is the amount of child support determined?

Both parents owe a duty of support to their children. Child support is awarded in accordance with statutory guidelines, which are based on the combined gross income of both parents. Also factored into the guidelines are the costs of medical insurance for the children, the cost of day care, and the cost of any extraordinary medical costs incurred by the children.
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Are legal custody and physical custody different?

Yes. Legal custody pertains to major decisions in the child's life such as those pertaining to health, education, and religion. Physical custody pertains to the actual physical time the child spends with each parent.
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Can visitation be withheld because support is not being paid?

No. The two are separate issues. You cannot deny visitation because support is not being paid. If you do not pay support when it is due, you can be held in contempt of court and punished by a fine or imprisonment.
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How long do I have to live in Virginia before I can file for divorce?

Six months. This can be the result of a voluntary relocation to Virginia or pursuant to valid military orders.
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How long do I have to be separated before my divorce can be finalized?

One year if there are children under 18 years of age or if there is no written agreement. Six months with no children under 18 and a written agreement. The Complaint for divorce can be filed before the expiration of this period if there are fault grounds alleged.
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What is mediation?

Mediation is a very effective process in which a mediator’s services are engaged to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator is a neutral person and generally is a retired judge or attorney experienced in the field of domestic relations. Attorneys can assist parties throughout the mediation process. Courts encourage parties to try to resolve issues between themselves first before spending the time, money and emotions in a contentious litigation.
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Answers to your wills, trusts, and estates questions

What is an estate plan?

An estate plan is nothing more than a plan for the management and use of your property during your life and the disposition of it in accordance with your wishes after your death. For some, a simple will and powers of attorney are sufficient. For others, a more comprehensive plan is needed involving the use of a revocable living trust.
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What happens if I die without a will or trust?

In Virginia, if you die without a will or trust, your assets will be divided among your heirs in an order of distribution that is determined by state law as it exists at the time of your death.
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Should everyone have a will or trust?

Yes. Whether you are married, single, have children or grandchildren and whether you have a rather large estate or a very small one, you should have a will or trust in order to insure that your assets will pass to the individuals and in the manner you choose rather than through a statutory scheme developed by the state.
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What determines whether I have a will or trust?

There are several considerations: primarily your personal goals, the size of your estate and the kinds of assets in your estate. The primary advantage of a trust over a will is that a trust avoids probate which is an expensive and time consuming process in which you account for your estate through a Court. Probate can cost more than five (5%) percent of your probate assets.
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Is it possible to achieve the goal of avoiding probate without placing my assets in trust?

Sometimes. Depending upon whom you choose as your beneficiaries and the type of assets that are in your estate, it is possible to pass your assets outside of a will or trust through the use of beneficiary designations on various types of accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs and other brokerage accounts or by designating individuals as “pay on death” (POD) or “transfer on death” (TOD) beneficiaries of bank accounts. This method has to be monitored closely because the value of your accounts will change over time which may change the amount of inheritance that one or more of your beneficiaries receives.
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What about life insurance?

Ordinarily insurance proceeds are includable in your gross estate for federal estate tax purposes but it is possible to create an insurance fund that is not subject to such death taxes. Many people who have small estates make good use of life insurance to create a significant estate that is not subject to estate taxes and can create an “instant” estate to provide for a family’s security if the breadwinner dies. Insurance is also used frequently by people with large estates to create a fund which can be used to pay the estate taxes due on the large estate. These policies are relatively inexpensive when used by married couples such as a “Second to Die” policy where the coverage applies only to the second (surviving) spouse and is therefore less expensive.
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