Practice Areas

Richmond Attorney Skilled in Divorce and Bankruptcy Matters

Going through a divorce or a bankruptcy is emotionally challenging for many people. These proceedings have legal consequences that may affect you as well as your spouse and your children far into the future. Retaining an experienced Richmond divorce lawyer to provide honest advice and representation may make a big difference not only to your state of mind but also the very real consequences of your decisions. James H. Wilson, Jr. also provides knowledgeable legal counsel to clients in Virginia who are seeking to reorganize their finances through the bankruptcy process. He approaches his clients’ concerns with empathy and understanding, as well as an eye to reasonable pricing.

Family Law Proceedings in Virginia

In Virginia, you may file for a contested or uncontested divorce. The former process is less common. It is filed when the spouses disagree about one or more issues, such as alimony, child support, property division, or child custody and visitation. Contested divorces may be fault-based or no-fault.

Fault for a divorce in Virginia may be attributable to adultery, felony conviction and imprisonment, cruelty or reasonable apprehension of physical harm, or abandonment and desertion. To establish adultery, you will need to supply clear and convincing evidence that your spouse had sexual intercourse outside your marriage. “Clear and convincing evidence” is a high standard of proof, but if adultery is established, there may be significant financial consequences for the spouse who cheated, including a bar to receiving permanent spousal support. Cruelty requires a spouse to establish that there was at least a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. Domestic violence, for example, is considered cruelty, as is verbal abuse. Generally, the events that constituted cruelty must have happened repeatedly over time, or otherwise there must have been a single event that is extremely egregious. Desertion or abandonment requires a spouse to establish that matrimonial cohabitation was abandoned with the intent to desert. It does not exist if a couple mutually agreed that a separation was appropriate.

Uncontested divorces are those in which the spouses are able to agree on all of the issues. Usually, these are no-fault, which means that the parties have separated and will not be working things out. You should consult a Virginia family law attorney about whether an uncontested divorce is appropriate in your case, since there are instances in which you may not understand all of the consequences of the agreement without guidance.


Bankruptcy is a federal procedure that allows debtors to pursue a fresh start and seek relief from their creditors’ claims. It is usually important to be represented during this process so that you make sure to obtain relief from all of the debts that may be discharged and protect the maximum value of property that may be protected. Most people file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the procedure that most people have in mind when they consider bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, if it is successful, your dischargeable debts will be discharged such that you are no longer liable for them. However, any assets that are not exempted are taken and sold so that your creditors may be paid back to the extent possible. You must pass a means test to qualify for this type of bankruptcy.

By contrast, Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires you to get approval for a debt repayment plan, and you must make monthly payments for 3-5 years. Only if you successfully make payments under the plan will your debts be discharged. However, there are numerous tools provided to get your finances in order, such as the ability to strip junior mortgages.

In both types of bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. This is a legal order whereby creditors are not allowed to try to collect debts from you or your property. For example, they may not file a lawsuit against you to collect the debt or make harassing phone calls.

Other Practice Areas

We also represent Virginia clients in the areas of wills and probate, estate planning, and elder law.

Consult a Bankruptcy or Divorce Lawyer in the Richmond Area

If you need legal advice or representation in connection with a family law matter, Richmond divorce attorney James H. Wilson, Jr. is ready to help. He also can assist people who need a family law or bankruptcy attorney in communities such as Glen Allen, Ashland, Atlee, Beaverdam, Chester, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Doswell, Fort Lee, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Highland Springs, Hopewell, King William, Manakin-Sabot, Mechanicsville, Midlothian, Montpelier, Moseley, North Chesterfield, Petersburg, Powhatan, Prince George, Rockville, Ruther Glen, Sandston, Short Pump, and Studley. Contact us at 804.740.6464 or via our online form to set up your appointment.

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