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LOUDOUN COUNTY FAMILY LAW

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WhitbeckBennett has its main office in Leesburg, Virginia and represents clients in divorce, custody, support and all other aspects of family law.  We serve clients in Leesburg, Ashburn, Purcellville, Sterling, Chantilly/South Riding, Aldie, Lovettsville, Middleburg and all other areas of Loudoun County.

Divorce in Loudoun County

Divorce cases in Loudoun County are heard at the courthouse in Leesburg in the Circuit Court.  The Court also can hear all other aspects of family law.  There are five Circuit Court Judges and many aspects of family law cases differ in Loudoun differ from other jurisdictions.  Our lawyers regularly practice before the Judges in Loudoun County every day and can help you navigate the unique rules and procedures of the courts in Leesburg.  Our team also knows the majority of lawyers who practice in Loudoun County and have worked with many of them in multiple cases.

Some family law cases can also be heard in the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court which is also located in Leesburg.  The cases that can be heard in that court include:  child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence protective orders, abuse and neglect of children and grandparent’s rights cases.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge in the Loudoun County District Courts hearing family law cases.

While most divorces end in settlement, individuals need Leesburg divorce attorneys experienced in dealing with all aspects of a divorce, including issues related to marital property, taxes, spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation, and pre & post-divorce planning.

While our firm often represents individuals in “no-fault” divorce situations, our attorneys are experienced in litigating fault-based divorces in such areas as adultery, mental/physical cruelty, and desertion/abandonment cases.

All divorces will have issues related to marital property and support, even if the primary focus of the parties is on the issues related to child custody and visitation. Our firm is experienced in litigating child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution issues, which give our attorneys the ability to assist our clients in all matters pertaining to marital property and support. Our firm has attorneys with experience in financial matters, business issues and all other aspects of property division in divorce cases. This gives our firm the ability to understand marital property and support issues from a financial perspective and is a valuable asset to our clients in dealing with these issues.  Our team of lawyers know Loudoun County and Leesburg businesses, local elected officials and how the business environment in Loudoun County can impact the outcome of a divorce.

Our attorneys not only are equipped to competently assist you in the traditional family law issues involved in all divorces, we also can help you in divorces involving more concentrated problems such as mental health issues/substance abuse, child and teen issues, children with special needs, and school choice and other educational issues. We have an attorney who is a professor of mental health law at a distinguished law school, who formerly served as a judge for hearings to commit mentally ill individuals and who is affiliated with mental health advocacy groups. Our attorneys also have experience in school choice issues, special needs education and dealing with local school boards and school personnel.

Moreover, our attorneys are trained as and have served as Guardians ad litem for children and have extensive experience in most, if not all, matters involving children. In addition to the services we offer above, our attorneys are also experienced in areas of spousal and child physical and/or mental abuse and child sexual abuse cases.  Our attorneys are familiar with Leesburg and Loudoun County law enforcement officers, social workers and school professionals.

 

Child Custody Cases in Loudoun County

Child custody cases in Loudoun County are heard at the courthouse in Leesburg in the Circuit Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court which is also located in the Leesburg courthouse.  The Circuit Court can hear all types of family law cases including appeals from the JDR Court.  The JDR Courts can hear everything but divorce cases, including:  child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence protective orders, abuse and neglect of children and grandparent’s rights cases.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge in the Loudoun County District Courts hearing family law cases.   

 

 

 

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There are five Circuit Court Judges and two JDR Court judges.  Loudoun County handles family law cause much different than other jurisdictions.  Our lawyers regularly practice before the Judges in Loudoun County every day and can help you navigate the unique rules and procedures of the courts in Leesburg.  Our team also knows the majority of lawyers who practice in Loudoun County and have worked with many of them in multiple cases.

Our Leesburg and Loudoun County attorneys not only have families of their own but have experience in the resources and services available in the local community to fully investigate and effectively litigate child custody matters. Our child custody attorneys have litigated hundreds of cases involving custody and visitation for minor children ranging in age from infancy to late teenage years. We also have extensive experience in handling Loudoun County custody cases where one parent seeks to relocate to another state, cases involving parental alienation and cases involving the custodial rights of grandparents and other persons of interest.

Not only can we assist you in the traditional family law issues involved in all custody cases, but we have experience in dealing with issues in such areas as mental health issues/substance abuse, child and teen issues, children with special needs/special education, and school choice and other educational issues. We have an attorney who is formerly a substitute judge in the Loudoun Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts deciding custody and visitation case, a professor of mental health law at a distinguished law school and who formerly served as a judge for hearings to commit mentally ill individuals in Leesburg and Loudoun County. Our attorneys also have experience in school choice issues, special education and dealing with the Loudoun County School board and Loudoun school personnel. Moreover, our attorneys are trained as and serve as Guardians ad litem for children and have extensive experience in most, if not all, legal matters involving children in Loudoun County.

In addition, our attorneys are also experienced in areas of spousal and child physical and/or mental abuse and child sexual abuse cases. Our attorneys have not only aggressively prosecuted cases involving these sensitive issues but have also represented individuals accused of such actions in family law and criminal cases.

Child & Spousal Support in Loudoun County

Child support cases in Loudoun County are initiated by filing a Petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) in Leesburg or as part of a complaint for divorce filed in the Circuit Court, also located at the Leesburg courthouse.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge in Loudoun County who has heard and decided support cases in JDR. 

Spousal support cases are most often filed in Loudoun County in connection with your divorce case.  You cannot get spousal support unless you are married.  Most cases are filed in the Loudoun County Circuit Court in Leesburg.  You also have the option of filing for spousal support in JDR but that is less common in Loudoun County.   

The five Circuit Court Judges and two JDR judges in Loudoun County all hear child support and spousal support cases.  While Loudoun judges normally follow the Virginia child support guidelines, they sometimes deviate from those guidelines based on the circumstances of a particular case. 

It is important to have an attorney experienced in support matters litigating your case in Loudoun County.  Our child and spousal support attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases in the Leesburg courthouse and it is important that your attorney handling your support case knows the local judges.  This is especially true in Loudoun County where there are no binding spousal support guidelines except in extremely rare instances.  Having an attorney who has actually litigate spousal support cases in Loudoun County is very important to get the best outcome you can.    

Our attorneys can assist you in all aspects of child and spousal support whether you are filing in Circuit Court or JDR, and regardless of how difficult your case.  We have decades of combined experience in divorce and support matters in Loudoun County, and litigate in front of the local judges on a weekly basis.   

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders in Loudoun County

There are three types of protective orders you can obtain in Loudoun County.  If the violence or threats you are receiving come from a family member or spouse, the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) in Leesburg will hear your case.  If you experience threats or violence from someone other than a family member or spouse, you will likely need to work with the Loudoun County General District Court (GDC).  The GDC is also located at the courthouse in Leesburg.  

Emergency Protective Orders: These can be issued around the clock every day of the year. Because of the emergency nature of these, they may be issued ex parte, which means no notice is given to the defendant or alleged abuser. They expire 72 hours after issuance, and until 5 p.m. the following business day if the court is not in session when the order expires.  Emergency Protective Orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the alleged respondent and the petitioner and their families, and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  However, they only last for 72 hours so if you fear additional acts of abuse you would then proceed to seek a preliminary protective order.  You can obtain these orders by going to the Loudoun County Magistrate’s office in Leesburg in the same building as the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center near the Leesburg airport.  You also can get assistance in getting these orders through the Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office, Leesburg Police, Purcellville Police, Middleburg Police, etc.  

Preliminary Protective Orders: You can seek a Preliminary Protective Order with or without previously having the 72-hour Emergency Protective Order.  These preliminary orders remain in force for 15 days, or until the court holds a hearing on the matter.  You will have to file a petition and affidavit in the JDR or GDC in Leesburg to get a Preliminary Protective Order.  Preliminary Protective Orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner and their families, and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  They also can keep the respondent from terminating utilities to the home, give temporary possession of a car and require the respondent to provide suitable alternative housing for the petitioner.  However, without conducting a full hearing and getting a Permanent Protective Order, these will expire after no more than 15 days   

Permanent Protective Orders: When a Loudoun County Judge issues a Preliminary Protective Order you will have the option to extend the order up to two years by seeking a Permanent Protective Order.  Usually the hearing is set by the Loudoun County Judge no more than 15 days after you get the Preliminary Protective Order.  These orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner and their families and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  However, they can also grant temporary custody and visitation of a minor child, can order the respondent into anger management or other treatment and give the petitioner other relief necessary to prevent further abuse.  They also can keep the respondent from terminating utilities to the home, give possession of a car and require the respondent to provide suitable alternative housing for the petitioner if necessary.  You can also get an award of attorneys’ fees if you had to hire an attorney to get the order.  You don’t have to file anything more    

The two JDR judges and four GDC judges in Loudoun County all hear protective order cases.  It is important to have an attorney experienced in domestic violence litigating your case in Loudoun County.  Our attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases in the Leesburg courthouse and it is important that the attorney handling your case knows the local judges.  This is especially true in Loudoun County where each of the individual judges handles protective order cases differently.    

Adoption in Loudoun County

Many Loudoun County families choose to adopt children. Once you adopt a child, your legal right to that child is the same as if he or she was born into the family biologically. It is important to have an experienced Loudoun County attorney help you with an adoption to ensure it is finalized correctly. You also want to make sure you research what options are available to potential Loudoun County parents. Our firm helps clients with adoptions in Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Purcellville, Lovettsville, South Riding, Aldie, and all other areas of Loudoun County.   

Some of the options available to potential parents in Northern Virginia for adoptions include: foster care adoptions, infant adoptions, stepparent adoptions, international adoptions, and several other options. Potential parents can adopt children either through agencies (public and private), or independently directly with birth parents in either a closed or an open adoption.  Some examples of private adoption agencies in Loudoun County are [insert links with some examples].  The public agency that assists with adoptions is the Loudoun County Department of Family Services.  

In some instances, Loudoun County adoptions can be challenged or even reversed by petitioning the Loudoun County courts. Adoptions in Loudoun County are finalized in the Circuit Court located at the Leesburg courthouse. 

Family Law 

Divorce

Child Custody

child protection

Child and Spousal Support

stone throw

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

child help

Adoption

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