shopify visitor statistics

Northern Virginia Divorce Attorney ShounBach

Posted On 18 Jan 2014
By :
Comment: Off

Northern Virginia Divorce Attorney


Northern Virginia Divorce Attorney ShounBachWhen there is tension between spouses, it can be a very difficult time for the entire household. These difficulties can become particularly severe when one or both spouses decide to seek a divorce. One of the most important decisions you can make in order to simplify the process is to hire a divorce lawyer who can provide you with excellent and detailed counsel and advice, as well as argue convincingly on your behalf.

At ShounBach, our lawyers have over 200 years of combined legal experience. Our firm has been in existence for almost 40 years, making it soundly established and proven in its success. Some of the numerous honors our attorneys have received include being AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, being nominated to Super Lawyers, and being recognized by a multitude of publications including “Best Lawyers in America”, Washingtonian Magazine, Ten Leaders and the Washington Post. Our firm has also been included as a 2014 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firm by Martindale-Hubbell. Given that we are one of the largest law firms dedicated solely to Family Law in Virginia, finding a Northern Virginia divorce attorney perfectly suited to represent you is not only possible, it is probable.


Due to our size and numerous years in practice, our firm offers a vast and unique range of family law expertise. Whether you need aggressive litigation or cooperative resolution, we can provide either. If you are facing the end of your marriage, we can help you understand grounds for divorce and your legal rights before moving forward.

In addition, we are skilled in handling all family law cases. These include situations involving children, such as adoption, child custody, child support, and visitation rights, as well as spousal support, temporary spousal support (pendente lite support), permanent spousal support, and domestic violence cases. Should you need assistance with modification of a prior agreement or order, such as child support modification, modification of custody or time sharing (visitation) or spousal support modifications, we are experienced and capable of providing advice and representation. If you reside outside the United States, we also provide representation for international family law cases.

We handle the most difficult and complex fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce, and high-asset divorce, and military divorce. We can advise you regarding your assets and financial situation to ensure that you receive a fair settlement or award from a court. Also, should you need legal assistance with pensions and divorce, property division or equitable distribution, we can help you protect your assets and your rights. Even before you are married, we can assist you with a premarital agreement (prenuptial agreements) as a precaution. We can assist you and provide the counsel you need.


As the one of the largest law firms dedicated solely to family law in Virginia, ShounBach is able to handle your specific case in a manner that is satisfactory to you. We seek to treat each client in a courteous, professional and ethical manner so that you are always informed about the progress of your case. If you need a divorce lawyer, we can build a strong case so that you can build your new life.

Contact a Northern Virginia divorce attorney from ShounBach today and learn more.

Why Hire ShounBach?


Divorce can be a confusing, stressful, and daunting process. There are so many details that can be problematic if overlooked, an overwhelming number of laws and procedures that must be followed, and numerous ways in which you could be taken advantage of without proper legal counsel and defense. At ShounBach, we understand the seriousness of your situation and are ready and willing to help.


As one of the largest family law firms in Virginia, we have the unique ability to provide each client with a Northern Virginia divorce attorney who is perfectly fitted and qualified for your particular case. No matter the situation, one or more of the divorce and family law attorneys from our firm will have the training and extensive experience to address your individual needs and to provide you with competent legal counsel and representation.

When you are in the middle of a divorce, the last thing you need to worry about is whether your case is being handled by a respected and experienced lawyer. When you chose a divorce attorney from ShounBach, you are hiring a firm that is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and includes attorneys who have received the title of Super Lawyer and have been recognized by a multitude of publications including the 2014 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firms, “Best Lawyers in America”, Washingtonian Magazine, Ten Leaders and the Washington Post. As a result of our size and standing, we represent high asset and high profile clients in the Northern Virginia and D.C. area. We do so discretely. Never once will you be concerned about the discretion or credibility of your attorney if you retain us.


You may be thinking “My problem is very complicated. How do I know if a lawyer from this firm can handle it?” The answer is that we can. Our large number of attorneys, each with different ranges and areas of experience, gives our firm the benefit of more than 200 years of combined legal experience. Whatever family law situation you are faced with, we have most likely handled numerous cases of a similar nature. Each of our attorneys is thoroughly educated in Virginia’s divorce and family laws and is dedicated to achieving your goals. Contact ShounBach today.


Don’t allow the stress and confusion of a divorce situation to overwhelm you. At ShounBach, we want nothing more than to provide you with skilled representation and peace of mind. A divorce and family law attorney from our firm has the experience and knowledge to bring about the best possible results for your case. Learn what we can do for you by calling our office today.

Divorce and Family Law: Frequently Asked Questions


Divorce is not easy. Aside from the emotions, with all the laws and procedures involved, you can become overwhelmed. At ShounBach, we understand your situation and want nothing more than to provide you with peace of mind.

Our firm practices nothing but family law, and as one of the largest family law firms in the state, our attorneys have over 200 years of collective legal experience. As a result, we have a broad range of knowledge, training, and experience, which allows us to quickly and thoroughly answer your questions. To begin with, here are a few common questions related to divorce cases. For more details, contact a Northern Virginia divorce lawyer from our firm by calling our offices today.

How do I find the right lawyer?

One of the most important steps in divorce is selecting the right lawyer. If you and your spouse are seeking a resolution through mediation or Collaborative law, you will need an attorney who is experienced in mediation or is Collaboratively trained. If you believe you may need a more aggressive approach through divorce litigation, you will want to select an attorney who can thoroughly defend your assets and fight for what is rightfully yours in a persuasive and effective manner. Click here for more answers relating to selecting the right lawyer.

How do I protect my children in a divorce?

Divorce can be a very difficult experience for children. One of the best ways you can protect them in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is to retain counsel who will proceed in a manner that is in the children’s best interest. Child support is generally determined by a state-wide child support guideline, and is primarily calculated based on the parents’ incomes. Click here for more answers relating to child support.

I depend on my spouse for income! What do I do?

You may be eligible to receive spousal support, which would require your spouse or former spouse to pay you a certain amount of money per month, either for a limited amount of time or indefinitely, depending on certain factors. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a lump sum of spousal support. This support is meant to provide for or contribute to your monthly expenses or to allow you to complete any schooling or training, so that you can become self-supporting. Click here for more answers relating to spousal support.

How do I keep my access to my child?

One of the most difficult areas of divorce is child custody and visitation rights. Our firm prefers to identify these issues as parental responsibilities. Parental responsibilities are composed of decision making and parenting time. The main goal is ensuring that you will always be involved in a meaningful way in your child’s life. Click here for more answers relating to child custody and visitation.

I know nothing about getting a divorce. What are some important things to know?

First of all, you should know whether or not you have grounds for divorce. In Virginia there are no-fault grounds and fault grounds. No-fault grounds require a six-month separation and signed settlement agreement which resolves all of the issues if no minor children involved, or a twelve-month separation and a complete, written agreement if minor children are involved. Fault grounds include adultery, cruelty, and/or desertion or abandonment. You are not eligible to file for divorce until you have grounds for divorce. Click here for more answers relating to common divorce topics.

What should I expect in a divorce case?

Everyone has their own idea of common divorce scenarios. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot necessarily throw your spouse or their personal items out of the home, and you may be liable for your actions if you do. You should also be very careful how you obtain information from your spouse in a divorce case, particularly through electronic means.


Whatever your divorce case, ShounBach can provide legal counsel and representation that fits your specific needs. As one of the largest family law firms in Virginia with over 200 years of combined legal experience, you will not have to worry whether your attorney will be able to provide the answers you need. Our firm is also AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and our attorneys have been recognized by numerous publications and our peers for their capability.

Questions Relating to Child Custody and Visitation


Child custody, visitation, child support, and all related family law topics often cause much confusion for parents going through divorce. If you are fighting to obtain custody of your children or you are working through a visitation schedule with your ex-spouse, you may have questions. A Northern Virginia divorce attorney from our law offices is available to provide you with the answers you need. Continue reading to learn more about topics relating to child custody and visitation.

Does the mother always win sole physical and legal custody?

No, there is no presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother.

How does a court decide which parent will get custody of a child?

The court decides all matters of custody and visitation by considering the child’s “best interest.” In this case, the child’s best interest refers to a set of statutory factors that a court must consider, including:

The child’s age;
The child’s gender;
The child’s physical and mental health;
The parents’ physical and mental health;
The parents’ lifestyles;
Any history of abuse;
The emotional bonds between the parent and the child;
The parent’s ability to provide the basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care;
The willingness of the parent to encourage a healthy, on-going relationship between the child and the other parent;
If the child is above a certain age, the child’s preference; and
Who has been the child’s historic, primary caretaker.
The court will hear evidence supplied by the parties and may refer the case for a custody evaluation. At times, a psychologist, family therapist, counselor or child development specialist may be employed to assist the parties in determining the child’s needs.

What about spousal or child abuse protective orders?

Protective orders, also referred to as restraining orders, can dramatically impact both a divorce and child custody action. An abused spouse may seek a civil and/or criminal protective order, which, among other things, may provide temporary child custody and support, and sole use of the marital residence.

What are the rights of grandparents to visit grandchildren? How may a grandparent gain custody of her grandchildren?

The court may grant reasonable visitation or custody to grandparents if it is determined to be in the child’s best interests. Grandparents seeking visitation must give notice to both parents. Generally, grandparent visitation will not be ordered if it conflicts with the rights of custody or visitation of the birth parents.

What is the definition of legal custody?

Legal custody is the right to make “legal decisions” on behalf of a child. Typically, these decisions are made in important areas such as medical care, education and religious training. Legal custody may be joint or sole. If parents have been awarded joint legal custody, decisions must be shared unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

Questions Concerning Spousal Support


Many people assume that they are entitled to spousal support after they have separated from their spouse. Unfortunately, obtaining support from your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be much more difficult than you originally anticipated. Let a Northern Virginia divorce lawyer from our law firm help you find the answers you need in regards to spousal support! Below are several questions and answers concerning this topic:

How can I get spousal support and how long can I receive payment?

There are no hard and fast guidelines for determining either the amount or duration of spousal support in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Certain jurisdictions such as Fairfax County publish temporary (pendente lite) spousal support guidelines, which may be used to calculate support pending a formal, final support. The touchstone consideration for determining whether and how much spousal support may be required is one spouse’s financial need balanced against the other’s ability to pay. If the divorce will leave one spouse with very little income and the other with sufficient income to contribute support, generally the court will award support. In the classic case, spousal support is awarded to a homemaker who has put his/her career on hold for the benefit of the family and paid by the wage-earning spouse who has worked during the marriage and enjoyed the benefit of a steadily increasing income. In short-term marriages of say less than ten (10) years, that assistance may continue for a period equal to one-half the duration of the marriage. That period is loosely calculated to enable the recipient spouse to further his/her education, receive job training and reestablish him/herself in the workforce. For longer term marriages of say fifteen (15) years or more, such rehabilitation may not be possible and support may continue indefinitely. No two parties’ circumstances are the same and thus support amounts and durations tend to vary.

May I accept spousal support in a lump sum payment instead of a monthly payment?

Yes, you are free to accept spousal support in nearly any form you wish. Though accepting regular monthly payments for a specific duration is most common, spouses can agree to one-time, lump sum payments, transfers of assets or payment of certain expenses in lieu of “regular” support. The parties may also agree that the support amount either increase or decrease over time to account for the recipient spouse’s financial needs.

What factors will the court consider when setting the permanent spousal support?

The following are some of the factors the court will consider in order spousal support:

The earning capacity of each party, including their education, skills and work experience;

  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The supporting party’s ability to pay;
  • The parties’ respective contributions to the marriage;
  • The needs of each party including the minor children;
  • The duration of the marriage; and
  • The tax consequences to the parties.


At ShounBach our legal team has over 200 years of collective experience. we provide high-quality, dedicated legal attention for any type of divorce or family law case we take on. Our attorneys understand how difficult this may be for you and your family, and we want you to know that you have our support through the entire process. All of the attorneys at our law firm are very dedicated, driven and extremely knowledgeable in their specific areas of the law. Do not wait any longer before calling our law firm.

Contact a Northern Virginia spousal support attorney from our law offices today to get all of the answers you need.

Family Law Information Center

Family law can be very complicated, with countless laws relating to numerous practice areas. As a result, it is important for anyone facing a domestic relations case to be represented by an attorney with extensive experience and access to resources. As the one of the largest family law firms in Virginia, ShounBach is able to provide family lawyers with a wide range of experience, as well as solid training. Our firm is experienced in handling cases in each of the following practice areas:

Dealing with the dissolution of marriage? No matter whether you have already been served with papers or if you are only contemplating filling, we encourage you to contact our firm to learn about the different ways in which we can help you protect yourself. Not ready to take any steps? We are available for consultation on what your rights are under Virginia law.

No matter whether you’re seeking agency adoption, international adoption, step parent adoption or parental placement adoption, it is important that you understand the detailed laws and regulations relating to the adoption process.

Child Custody
Child custody is broken down into two areas: legal custody (how important decisions are made for your child, and by who), and physical custody (your child’s schedule with each parent). Legal custody and physical custody can be determined through negotiation, mediation, Collaborative divorce, or through litigation.

Child Support
When parents do not live together, the law requires that each parent continue to provide support for his or her children according to their ability. Usually, this amount is determined by the child support guidelines, and one parent will pay a monthly amount to the parent with custody of the child/children.

Domestic Violence
There is a wide range of offenses covered under domestic violence. Protective orders can be entered to prohibit contact with a party; these orders may also extend to your children.

No-Fault Divorce
When two spouses agree to seek dissolution of their marriage due to a voluntary separation, they can seek what is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce. No marital misconduct or defense is needed.

Fault-Based Divorce
When marital misconduct, such as adultery, is committed by one spouse, it may be grounds for fault-based divorce. This is the traditional form, having been the only legal grounds for divorce in Virginia until the 1970s.

Grounds for Divorce
Any time a person seeks a divorce, even if is a no-fault divorce, he or she must first have grounds for said divorce. Some of the most common grounds are a one year separation, a six month separation where the parties have no minor children and have a complete, written settlement agreement, adultery, cruelty, and desertion.

High Net Worth Divorce
Divorce requires the equitable division of marital property, and when your estate is extremely valuable, losses could be more substantial. In such cases, it is important to retain an experienced lawyer.

Military Divorce
Legal proceedings are different for servicemen and women, including divorce. There are many issues that are unique to military cases, including retirement benefits, TSP accounts, access to health insurance and other benefits. If you or your spouse is a military member or a former military member, be sure that your attorney has experience in these areas.

Child Support Modifications
Child support is always modifiable, regardless of whether the amount was reached by agreement or by a judge’s ruling. A modification may be appropriate when there has been a change in one parent’s financial situation, a change in the legal parenting plan, or some other change since the last order.

Spousal Support Modifications
Modifications can be made to spousal support payments due to certain circumstances. These include changes in the spouse’s need for income or change in a spouse’s ability to pay.

Pensions and Divorce
Pensions and retirement benefits that accumulate during the marriage are marital property, even though only one spouse earned the benefit. These assets can be divided between the spouses in a divorce.

Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support may be appropriate depending on the circumstances of your case, including the length of your marriage, the ages and health of the parties, and the parties’ work experience and earning capacity.

Premarital Agreements
A premarital agreement is a legal contract entered into by two parties before they are married, usually to protect their assets in the event of divorce or separation. Some parties also include provisions for spousal support.

Prenuptial Agreements
Some people choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement—or a “prenup”—before they are married. The purpose of a prenuptial is to protect each party’s property should the marriage end by divorce. Some parties also include provisions for spousal support.

Property Division
One of the most common sources of dissention and argument in a divorce case is property division. Each party desires a fair financial share and security for his or her future. The division of marital property in Virginia is accomplished through the “equitable distribution” of property. Equitable distribution of property does not always mean equal division of property. This process is also known as equitable distribution.

In Virginia, it is possible to begin your separation period while living under the same roof. You do not need to file anything with the court to begin your separation, but you must communicate your intention to permanently separate to your spouse.

Spousal Support
Depending on the difference between your income and your spouse’s, spousal support, or alimony, may be appropriate. Spousal support can be awarded for a limited period of time, to allow a spouse to finish school, update work skills, or re-enter the workforce. It may also be appropriate when children are not yet school age. Depending on the length of your marriage and your age, an award of spousal support can also be permanent support.

Visitation and Parental Responsibilities
Children need both parents in their lives for proper development, except in extreme situations. When a child’s parents get are separating or divorcing, time sharing between the parents should be arranged to allow the children to maintain, or even strengthen, their relationships with both parents.


For a Northern Virginia divorce attorney who has the knowledge and training to represent you in any of these practice areas, contact ShounBach today. As one of the largest family law-only firms in Virginia, our attorneys have over 200 years of collective legal experience, giving our firm the unique ability to provide tailored legal representation to meet your unique needs. If your case calls for aggressive litigator, we have attorneys with extensive courtroom experience who can provide you with vigorous representation and defense. We also have skilled Collaborative attorneys and mediators who can help you achieve a cooperative resolution. Find out more about our firm by calling our offices today.

Client Testimonials



“Al and his team have provided the most professional and proactive approach to my case. The level of communication was perfect, walking that fine balance of ensuring that everything is accomplished and watching how the money is spent. They were always at least two or three steps ahead of the pack ensuring that we were prepared for everything that was coming our way and also had a plan of attack. Al also had a very gentle side when dealing with the emotions relating to the case.”

“Please thank Mr. Bonin for his support late last year. He went above and beyond to provide me with the information that I needed in simple terms, and was creative in providing a plan that would be most affordable to me. I will highly recommend him.”

“I sought a divorce and soon learned that the legal actions would have to take place in Virginia where my wife lived rather than the state where I lived. I was referred to Al Bonin and am pleased to report an excellent working relationship resulted. Despite several conflicts, steady progress toward a solution and equitable settlement was achieved. I was impressed early on by Al’s knowledge of applicable law. Al suggested and implemented solutions that quickly resolved problems that might have delayed progress for months. Working over a separation of thousands of miles, I was nevertheless kept well informed on planned actions and progress. My high recommendation for Al Bonin and his staff is made with sincere gratitude for the service the firm rendered me in a time of need.”

“Al Bonin and Molly Garrett assisted me during a trying and lengthy custody evaluation involving elementary-aged school children. I do not know how I would have handled the many twists and turns, ups and downs of this emotional roller coaster without their wise, thorough, and expert counsel. It was apparent to me from the first time I met Al Bonin that he had the best interests of the children firmly in mind throughout this time. Molly’s efforts on behalf of the children were fabulous as well. I highly recommend Al and Molly to anyone who is facing a custody dispute.”

“Currently Molly Garrett is representing me while I go through a divorce. I wanted to take this opportunity to pass along my thoughts. She is fantastic. We entered into an agreement with my ex very quickly because of her expertise. Also, she brought things to my attention I would have never thought about. She is always so quick to respond. The time stamps are well into the night hours. I feel she is going above and beyond for me as well as my 4 year old. Also, she is funny, friendly, confident and just great to be around. I was devastated walking into her office and by the time I left I felt empowered and I had a smile on my face. It was the first smile in a month. I could not be more pleased with my experience with her. Please pass this along to whom ever it may concern.”
“Al Bonin took a very challenging case, which many lawyers before him had hesitated/refused to touch. Not only did Mr. Bonin take and win the first part of the case, in an effort to reduce my legal expenses, he suggested that I turn the second part of the case to Hope Rosen. Ms. Rosen successfully finished my legal case in August 2010. I’ve had to contact both Mr. Bonin and Ms. Rosen in 2012 for questions and they both rose to the occasion with warmth and grace. These lawyers are highly responsive and effective. I couldn’t be happier with the way my situation was resolved.”

“I’m so thankful for my lawyer, Roberta K. Henault. If anyone is getting divorced in Northern Virginia, I highly recommend her. Divorce is a quagmire, and she was knowledgeable and capable, and it was such a relief to know I had her looking out for my best interests. She gave me good advice and had a good sense of what I could expect. I never felt that she was trying to run up her own bill. In fact, she weighed options at times and told me when the cost of going to court about something was not worth what I was likely to get out of it. And my lawyer tells it like it is. She stands up for what’s right and will not be pushed around. She acted on my behalf in situations where I wouldn’t have the strength to do it myself.”

“ShounBach is a world class law firm. Al Bonin represented me through a difficult experience with a pragmatic approach, utmost professionalism and complete honesty. Going through a divorce is not easy, but Al guided me in a manner that encouraged me to focus beyond the divorce – it was one of the best things he could have done for me. I will always be grateful to him.”

Contact Us


Phone: (703) 988-7627

Fairfax Office Address:
4000 Legato Road
Suite 400
Fairfax, VA 22033

Arlington Office
(by appointment only):
Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA


About the Author