contact us

In divorce cases, while every family’s situation is unique, there are some common goals. Typically, both spouses want to end the marriage quickly and as cost-effectively as possible while protecting the children and ensuring that property and support issues settle fairly.

Most people think there are two types of divorces, uncontested divorces or contested divorces. At WhitbeckBennett, we look at divorces a bit differently, as either litigated divorces or negotiated divorces. Our divorce lawyers are highly experienced in representing and guiding clients in either type of divorce. 

Litigation Divorce

In a litigated divorce, the parties cannot reach an agreement, and there are significant issues that require the court to resolve. A divorce case is initiated in court when one of the spouses files a lawsuit asking the court to grant a divorce to the filing party. Generally, it doesn’t matter which spouse is the Plaintiff and which is the Defendant in a divorce. 

Negotiation Divorce

In a negotiated divorce, one or both spouses decide they want to separate permanently. The parties each hire attorneys and proceed with negotiating a resolution to their divorce. This can be done between the parties and their attorneys or through alternative dispute resolution services such as mediation. Once an agreement is signed, many states have a waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. When that waiting period is over, one of the spouses files an uncontested complaint for divorce, and the parties cooperate to finalize the divorce. Our firm can help you through this process as you obtain a Marital Settlement Agreement, sometimes called a Property Settlement Agreement, and then finalize your divorce.   



Settlement Agreement

Our firm usually begins divorces outside of court with a letter to the opposing party letting them know that we represent their spouse and request disclosure of income, assets, and debts. Most of the time, this disclosure happens, but sometimes it does not. If the other party refuses to cooperate, the only option is to pursue a divorce through litigation.

However, if both spouses do the right thing and exchange complete information on the marital estate, our firm then prepares a contract called a “Marital Settlement Agreement.” This document may also be called a “Property Settlement Agreement” or “Separation Agreement.” This agreement sets forth terms that settle all of the disputes concerning the parties’ split and, if signed, is a final settlement of all issues short of getting an actual divorce decree or order from the court. Our firm will help clients understand the agreement’s particulars and what should or should not be included in the terms.

Divorce Litigation


If a divorce cannot be settled out of court, you need an aggressive and compassionate legal advocate by your side to litigate your case in court and get the best possible outcome. Divorces are stressful and complex cases. It’s essential you have an experienced attorney who understands the critical issues in divorce litigation as well as the unique circumstances of your family. Our attorneys are skilled in advocating for clients on matters such as the grounds for divorce (adultery, abandonment, etc.), child custody and visitation, spousal support and child support, and the division of marital property.
At WhitbeckBennett we have litigated thousands of divorces in multiple states and we are ready to fight for you in your case.

5 yellow stars displayed in a row

“I would highly recommend John Whitbeck to anyone needing legal counsel or representation. He was thorough, intentional, and professional in all of my dealings with him. He is well respected in the legal community of Loudoun County and is well liked by friends and colleagues alike. He has worked diligently to build a fabulous reputation and proven his knowledge of the law through his diligent practice in the area. No man would be as highly respected and sought after if he didn’t have the experience and professionalism to back it up.”

Loudoun County, VA

“I have over 10 years experience personally with Mrs. Laffey and if you want the best of the best look no further. She is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in all fields of family law. She genuinely cares about your case and your situation and does whatever she can to improve it and do what is best for everyone involved. She is a fantastic mediator on all fronts especially dealing with other parties attorneys in the courtroom and with you personally. She is definitely an advocate for children and wants to see them happy healthy and growing through these trying times. She responds to any inquiries emails or phone calls with prompt attention and goes out of her way to find a solution for your particular case. She’s extremely easy to engage with and you will not be disappointed with her services. I can not sing her praises enough. So if you want your case handled professionally proficiently and with a touch of TLC I highly recommend that you call her you won’t regret your decision.”

Wilmington, DE

“My experience with WhitbeckBennett has been, and continues to be, extremely positive. My attorney, Mr. Beglis, has worked very hard for me. I can only wish that I had the sense to retain him for my Divorce, I would be in a completely different situation at this time! He is handling my custody issue. The level of comfort he has given me is worth everything to me. I truly feel like he is standing in front of me as a shield and his only function is to protect me and fight for me. This feeling, for me, is priceless. Thank you so much Mr. Beglis for giving me peace.”

Leesburg, VA

“Amber Godfrey is a consummate perfectionist with a heart of gold and a passion for her clients. I highly recommend her and her firm for any family law matter.”

Oklahoma City, OK

“Richard Tappan is one of the finest attorneys that you could have represent you…He went the extra mile and you can be assured this is just who he is…someone that will not let you down even though you are facing very difficult circumstances.”

Vienna, VA

“James (Jim) did an excellent job with my case! Whenever I had any questions, he responded to my inquiry the same day and always provided a clear explanation. He made a confusing and stressful situation very, very simple and my case was closed in less than 3 months—even during this pandemic! I absolutely recommend!”

Leesburg, VA