Law Office of Li-Shann Durst
(703) 443-4762

Family Law

Family Law

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What is a Collaborative Divorce?

  • Divorce conducted with respect and dignity.
  • Divorce issues worked out without going to court.
  • Divorce with less stress and anxiety.
Read more about the Collaborative method.


Rules Regarding Custody and Parenting Time

  1. A court cannot solve all your problems. It is better to communicate and cooperate with the other parent regarding custody and parenting time.
  2. Always do what is best for you child, not what is best for you.
  3. Do not “bad mouth” the other parent to the child while he/she is in your care.
  4. Remember it is natural for a child to want to stay where the child is accustomed. Talk with your child about this and prepare the child for any changes in where they will be staying.
  5. Keep exchanges of the child brief and refrain from arguing with the other parent in front of the child.
  6. Do not involve the child in any conflicts with the other parent.
  7. Get agreements with the other parent or custodian in writing whenever possible.
  8. Do not abuse alcohol or prescription drugs. Do not have people around who abuse alcohol or prescription drugs.
  9. Do not use illegal drugs or commit other crimes. Do not have people around who use illegal drugs or commit crimes.

The Law Office of Li-Shann Durst is a family law firm focused on issues such as divorce, child support, spousal support, parenting time, custody,  division of marital assets, and allocation of marital debt.  These matters may be resolved by agreement outside of court through collaborative law or mediation.  If there is no agreement, then the issues must be decided by a judge before a final divorce can be entered.


A divorce decree cannot and does not end your responsibility as a parent.  Both parents should make every attempt to play a vital role in the lives of their children.  Children need the ongoing affection, interest and concern of their parents.  Children must feel that they have two parents who love them.

Child Custody

Custody refers to either physical or legal custody:

  1.  Physical custody –Physical custody determines where the child physically lives and who he/she lives with.
  2.  Legal custody – Legal custody determines the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and safety.

The court will determine custody matters based upon “the best interest of the child” by using the following factors:

  •  The age and mental condition of the child.
  •  The age and mental condition of each parent.
  •  The relationship between each parent and the child.
  •  The needs of the child.
  •  The role each parent has played and will play in the child’s upbringing.
  •  The willingness of each parent to actively support the child’s contact with the other parent.
  •  The willingness of each parent to keep a close relationship with the child and to resolve disputes in child rearing.
  •  The preference of the child in certain instances.
  •  Any history of family abuse
  •  Others factors that the court deems important.

Parenting Time

A parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is legally entitled to parenting time with that child.  There are exceptions to this when it is not in the best interest of the child.

Parenting time involves how often visits take place, where the visits take place, and whether the visits will be supervised by another adult.

Child Support

A father and mother have a duty to financially support their children.  The amount of that child support depends on the income of the parents.

Child support is based upon the combined gross income of the father and mother. The court uses the Virginia Child Support Guidelines, which are part of the state law, to decide on the amount of child support.

Spousal Support

A husband and wife also have a duty to financially support each other.  Spousal support is paid directly to the spouse.

Property Distribution

In a divorce, the judge will make a determination as to the classification of the property acquired by the parties as to which is marital, separate, or part separate and part marital.  Virginia statutes provide for the “equitable distribution” of marital property.  Under Virginia’s system of equitable distribution, the court is not required to divide the marital property on an equal basis.  Instead, the court will consider various factors such as the monetary and non-monetary contribution of each of the parties to the well-being of the family and to the acquisition and care of the marital property, when determining how to divide the marital assets.

To find out how we can help with your family law case, please call our Ashburn, VA office at (703) 443-4762 or Schedule a Consultation.