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Family Law
Divorce is one of the most painful issue adults can face. If you are facing a divorce, not only are there difficult emotions and stress to deal with, the decisions you make during your divorce may affect your safety, your finances, and your children for years to come. You need a divorce lawyer who will listen, and has the experience to help you to understand your options, and the probable consequences of the decisions you make. Making the right choice of the attorney you choose means not only success with your goals, but huge savings of the legal moves you could avoid with right strategy for the divorce.  Your lawyer should defend your rights in a divorce, but should first try to attempt to resolve the issues with your partner without going into expensive litigation if at all possible.
At our Law Offices we assist clients with matters such as:
Property Division;
Child support;
Spousal support;
Marital Agreements;
Domestic Violence;
International Abduction and other cross-border issues
Our family attorneys are dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to find the best solution for each case. Our attorney, Ms. Krukova will make recommendations, and give you options that make it possible to negotiate a settlement without going to court.
When you come to our Law Office, you can be rest assured that your case will receive the personal attention of a divorce attorney dedicated to protecting your interests.
To obtain an absolute divorce, one spouse must first prove that at least one “ground” (a legally accepted reason) for absolute divorce exists.  A set of judicially recognized reasons for divorce exists in each state, including Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia.

Ourattorneyswillconsult you and will help you to develop right strategy before initiating and filing for divorce, will help you assess advantages and disadvantages of a particular course, will help you correctly prepare all documents and pleadings for filing, and will consult you on all aspects of family law: proporty division, IRA division, child custody, alimony and spousal support.

There are two types of grounds: a “no fault” ground for divorce, and grounds based on the “fault” of a spouse.

“No Fault” Divorce Actions

“No-fault divorce” suits are those in which the spouses only ask for a divorce on the grounds that they have lived separate and apart, without any cohabitation and without interruption, and it being the intention of one of the parties that the separation be permanent, for the period of time required by law.
The “12-month separation” ground for divorce exists in all states, including Virginia Maryland and District of Columbia.
If the spouses have entered into a separation agreement and they have no minor children and they have lived separate and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for 6 (six) months. Such ground exists in Virginia.
However, Maryland have superseded Virginia and in 2015 introduced a concept of divorce “by mutual consent”, so as long as the parties have entered into a valid official Marital Separation Agreement no specific period of separation is needed, they can file for a divorce at any time.
However, it’s not so easy if the parties have children. For example Virginia expects parties to have lived separately for at least one year, and the courts in Maryland, although not having that requirement would still meticulously be checking all written parties agreements regarding custody and child support.
Mandatory period of separation in District of Columbia is one year before you can file for a divorce.
“Fault” Grounds for Divorce

To obtain a fault-based divorce, you will have to prove that your spouse acted in certain ways. The fault grounds include: adultery, desertion, imprisonment for a crime, insanity, cruelty of treatment, and excessively vicious conduct. 


In order to obtain a divorce either in Virginia or Maryland, at least one of the parties to the divorce action must have been (and still be) an actual and bona fide resident of the state for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the divorce action.
Property division laws both in Virginia and Maryland make a crucial distinction between marital property and separate property.

Marital property includes property acquired during the marriage, which is not otherwise classified as separate property and must be divided between the two parties.

Separate property is property acquired by one spouse before the marriage and property willed or given to one spouse by a third party during the marriage and is usually awarded solely to that spouse.

Division of Marital Property

Both Virginia and Maryland are “Equitable Distribution” states. This means that marital property is divided “equitably” and not necessarily “equally.” Rather, the court will divide property between spouses in a way that it considers fair or equitable. In the majority of cases, a fair division will be an equal (50/50) division. In other cases, however, once property is classified as marital, the court examines the following factors:

Each party’s monetary and non-monetary contributions to the well-being of the family;

The monetary and non-monetary contributions of each party in the acquisition, care and maintenance of marital property;

The length of the marriage;

The ages and health of the parties;

The issues that brought about the end of the marriage;

The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the property;

Each party’s debts, the basis for the debts, and the collateral for the debts;

Whether or not the property is liquid;

Any tax implications;

Other factors of the court’s discretion.


Under Virginia and Maryland law, both natural parents are the presumed natural custodians of their children. The law does not favor either the mother or father and considers the “best interest” of the child standard when determining child custody and visitation.

Child custody laws are very similar from state to state, mainly due to the adoption of the Uniform Child Custody Act, which helps enforcement efforts across state lines.

Child custody has two components: legal and physical.

Legal Custody involves the right to make long-term plans and decisions for the education, religious training, discipline, non-emergency medical care and other matters of major significance concerning the child’s welfare.

Physical Custody involves spending time with the child and making decisions about the child’s everyday needs.

The court may order legal and physical custody in a number of ways.

Joint Legal Custody: where both parents retain responsibility for the care and authority of the child, even if the child has only one primary residence. Additionally, one parent may be given “tie-breaking” authority (the final word in cases of disagreement), or each parent may have certain areas of decision-making authority.

Joint Physical Custody: where the parents share physical custody and care of the child (usually by alternating weeks, months, etc.), and the child has two residences, spending at least 35% of the time with each parent.

Sole Custody: just one parent has physical and legal custody; the non-custodial parent in this arrangement may seek visitation.

The noncustodial parent is legally entitled to visitation with his or her child unless it is determined that this would be detrimental to the child (for example, if the noncustodial parent has been convicted of child abuse). The judge will order a visitation schedule if the parents are unable to agree on one.

Custody and visitation arrangements are never permanent. As situations change, a parent can always petition the Court to modify a Court order.

 Natural parents have a legal duty to support their children, who need both financial and family support to grow and thrive.

Under Virginia and Maryland law, statutory child support guidelines have been introduced to bring uniformity to child support disputes.

Child support payment obligations in Virginia are set according to a formula which considers each parent’s gross income for the purpose of determining child support liability. Gross income is subject to deduction of reasonable business expenses for persons with income from self-employment, a partnership, or a closely held business. Courts may also consider certain additional factors and deviate from the Virginia child support guidelines if appropriate. However, in the majority of cases, child support calculators give accurate estimates.

Maryland also uses a formula for calculating child support based on a proportion of each parent’s gross income. Maryland child support guidelines are applied unless a party can show that application of the guidelines would be unjust and inappropriate in a particular case.

Child Support Enforcement

After child support is established, a court order goes into effect for the purposes of enforcement. Failing to fulfill the terms of child support is considered contempt of court, and can result in fines or jail time. Any modifications must be made through the courts and cannot be determined solely by either of the parties or by agreement of the parties without court approval.

If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached between the parties in divorce proceedings, spousal support, if applicable, is determined by the court. Spousal support is sometimes referred to as alimony. Courts follow a series of factors in determining the amount of spousal support, including: Financial needs and resources of each spouse; Age of each spouse; Physical and mental condition of each spouse; Financial contributions to the marriage; Length of the marriage; Standard of living established during the marriage. In Virginia, for example, there are several options available to people seeking divorce and alimony, including: Permanent alimony – spousal support, in which payments are awarded until death or remarriage. Few states apart from Virginia still award permanent alimony. Rehabilitative alimony – spousal support, in which payments are awarded only for a predetermined period of time. Spousal Support Enforcement Once the court determines spousal support, a court order is established to ensure enforcement. If the person paying alimony does not honor the terms of the order, he or she can be found in contempt of court. If there are any changes in the ex-spouses’ financial situations, the proper course of action is to petition the court for a modification of spousal support.

In the absence of an agreement between the spouses, a husband and wife will have specific rights and obligations. Most of these rights can be modified by an agreement entered into before or during the marriage.

Marital agreements established before the marriage are also referred to as premarital, or prenuptial agreements.

Premarital agreements are increasingly popular ways of setting the terms of a marriage. They can resolve issues over premarital assets, premarital debts, how property will be divided, and whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce.

To ensure that a marital or prenuptial agreement has only the provisions that you desire, you need the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Understanding your rights and law prior to entering into any agreement, whether before or during a marriage, is essential.

If you are contacted by any law enforcement agency, do not make any statements as they will most likely be used to build a case against you later. Politely decline to comment and then contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Domestic violence is not rare in the United States and frequently arises in international marriages where the partners didn’t have an opportunity for long term dating and learning about each other. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

Domestic violence may present itself in forms of physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, emotional abuse, and more.

It is not always easy to determine in the early stages of a relationship if one person will become abusive. Without intervention, domestic violence can become more destructive over time and can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death.

If you or your children have been victims of domestic violence, don’t wait, seek help.

An experienced attorney can help guide you through this difficult time, and avoid making mistakes that can prove to be extremely costly in the future.