Alexandria Family Law and Divorce Lawyer
Clear and confident legal support in Northern Virginia
Debra Susan Bray manages the family law and divorce practice, which includes litigating all matrimonial issues, from alimony, divorce, and property division to child custody, visitation, support and adoptions. Her skills include negotiation of advantageous property settlements, spousal and child support awards, drafting of all documents such as qualified domestic relations orders, separation and property settlement agreements, decrees of divorce and petitions for enforcement of support orders among many others.
Divorce can be an emotionally trying time for all parties, and Ms. Bray is very much aware of the stress and strain involved. She takes a sensitive and caring approach with her clients, but she is also an aggressive divorce litigator who knows how to use the law to protect her clients' rights. She is also a certified guardian ad litem, representing abused and neglected children.
Grounds for divorce
You can get a no-fault divorce in Virginia if you have lived separate and apart for one year. If neither of you have children and you have a property settlement agreement signed by both parties, you can get a no-fault divorce in only six months. However, divorces can also be based on fault grounds: adultery, cruelty, or abandonment.
Fault-based divorce actions are frequently contested by the party accused of fault. A contested divorce must be resolved through divorce litigation. Even no-fault divorces often require litigation to resolve disputed terms of the settlement. Common issues in divorce settlements include—
This is where Alexandria divorce attorney Debra S. Bray comes in. She has more than ten years of experience as a divorce trial lawyer, and she works hard to win you a settlement that supports your future ambitions and protects the best interests of your children.
Uncontested divorces can be performed on a flat fee basis ($750.00) and can be concluded in a short time if the parties completely agree and meet the requirements under the code.
Virginia is an equitable distribution state. If you and your spouse cannot come to a property agreement, the court will divide the marital property equitably—which does not necessarily mean equally. The court must make determinations about issues including—
- The contributions of each party to the well-being of the family
- The duration of the marriage
- The ages and health of the parties
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse
- The tax consequences to each party
The court has a limited perspective on these issues, and has a complicated statute to follow. Alexandria divorce lawyer Debra S. Bray presents a complete picture of your situation and encourages the court to interpret the law in your favor. She works hard on your behalf to ensure that the distribution of property meets your needs.
Spousal support is the legal term in Virginia for what most people know as alimony. The legal factors that determine alimony are similar to those used for dividing marital property, but are more sharply focused on the immediate and future financial capacity of both parties. Alimony is paid by the party that the court perceives to have greater potential for financial stability, both in the present and future. The person receiving support must demonstrate need on his or her part, and that the person paying support has the ability to pay.
Alexandria divorce lawyer Debra S. Bray makes a strong case for your actual financial realities, whether you are seeking support or being asked to pay it.
When determining child custody, Virginia courts are required to consider the best interests of the child. The major legal factors that establish the child's best interests are—
- Age and health of child and parents
- Child's relationship with parent and others
- Past and future role of each parent in caring for the child
- Ability of parents to cooperate in raising the child
- Preference of the child, if mature enough
- History of family abuse
The family court judge also has discretion to weigh other issues. Alexandria child custody lawyer Debra S. Bray makes sure that your child's best interests are shown to the court from your point of view.
Attorney Debra S. Bray cares deeply about the custodial arrangements for your children. As a mother of three, she appreciates the importance of not only watching your children grow but participating in their lives and activities to the fullest extent possible. She also understands that no two families are the same. Each warrants individual attention and care. She works diligently and creatively to tailor a schedule that is in the best interests of your children and can accommodate your particular needs.
Virginia child support amounts are determined by a child support payment schedule. The family court defers to this schedule unless there is a proven need to deviate from it. Alexandria child support lawyer Debra S. Bray petitions the court to consider any factors, unique to your situation, which could alter the child support determination in your favor.
Connect with a compassionate Alexandria divorce lawyer
Whether you need help putting together an amicable property settlement and separation agreement or you need representation in a hotly contested divorce proceeding, attorney Debra S. Bray is a reliable resource for residents of Northern Virginia. To make an appointment with a dedicated divorce lawyer in Alexandria, contact Amole & Bray P.C.