Our family law attorneys understand that if you are facing a divorce or custody battle, your family is going through a difficult time. We treat our clients with respect and care throughout the process. We spend considerable time meeting with clients to learn about what matters most to them. When we have a clear picture of your goals, we tailor a strategy to meet your needs.

TATE BYWATER has provided family law representation since 1972. We know that for some clients, preserving family relationships is as important as winning their lawsuit. Therefore, we always try negotiation as a means of amicably resolving disputes. If we need to take your case to trial, however, we have the skill to pursue your interests in court, whether you’re in need of a Fairfax County divorce attorney or child custody lawyer in Vienna.

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Divorce, Custody, and Support

Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional events in a person’s life. We handle all issues related to divorce, including property division and spousal support (alimony). We are able to resolve most divorces without the need for a trial.

Uncontested Divorce

We handle uncontested and contested divorce cases. Even when a divorce is uncontested by both parties, you still need a skilled legal advocate to properly draft, review and file all necessary paperwork to ensure that your rights are protected and that your agreements are legally sound. Give us a call when you need a divorce attorney who will help make the process as smooth as possible.

Contested Divorce

Sometimes reaching a settlement is not possible. We are fully prepared to zealously represent you in a contested divorce whether through negotiation or litigation. Our experienced divorce attorneys have settled and litigated complex divorce cases involving a variety of issues such as closely-held businesses, separate property, tracing, imputed income, retirement accounts, credit card debts, lines of credit, adultery, desertion, and abandonment. Get the right family law attorney on your side!

Child and Spousal Support

If you are involved in a divorce and require spousal or child support; if you have separated from your spouse and find yourself in need of financial assistance; or if you have a child for who support is required, the firm has the resources to help you obtain spousal or child support. Our attorneys routinely handle support matters such as the establishment of initial support award, modification of support awards, and enforcement and collection of support arrearages.

Child Custody

Whether you are seeking to establish a custody and visitation arrangement, beginning a divorce, are related to a child to whom you have been denied access, or are seeking to modify an outdated custody order, our attorneys are able to assist you with your child custody and visitation issues. We have represented mothers, fathers, grandparents and relatives who are all concerned with ensuring that the best interests of their children are met. We litigate to obtain temporary and permanent child custody determinations, negotiate custody agreements, and handle all manner of custody modifications.

Additional family law services we provide include the following:

  • Marital Separation Agreements
  • Adoption Separation agreements
  • Paternity
  • Qualified domestic relation orders (QDRO)
  • Legal name changes
  • Domestic violence and restraining orders
  • Contempt and enforcement proceedings
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements


Paul Mickelsen was my divorce lawyer.  I knew Paul before I needed a divorce lawyer and I knew he had a great reputation in the legal community.  When my wife filed for divorce, Paul was the first person I called.  Divorce is very difficult but I am glad he was able to help me through the process.  Paul is compassionate and a good listener.  I never felt rushed when I was with Paul and I knew he cared about me and my children.  I always felt important.  He treated me like a person not a number.  Paul is smart and knows family law well.  My case was not an easy case but Paul was able to negotiate a decent settlement with the other side.  He’s very professional: he was never late to a meeting and returned all my calls in a timely manner.  I would strongly recommend Paul to anyone going through a divorce.”

– Nathan J.