Heather A. Cooper
I am one of the three founding partners of Cooper Ginsberg Gray, PLLC, and helped launch the firm in November of 2004. Our founding principles are focused on providing compassionate and competent legal representation, advancing the legal profession, and giving back to the Northern Virginia community.
Throughout my 25+-year career, my practice has been devoted to helping my clients navigate through family law matters. I have been privileged to represent mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, as well as extended family members in certain custody cases. I strive to connect with my clients on a personal level and provide them with a calming presence when handling their cases. I endeavor at all times to manage the case in such a way that reduces the financial and psychological impact of the divorce on the family.
My main goal as a family law attorney is to assist my clients in reaching a negotiated settlement of all issues. If that option is not possible, my extensive trial experience enables me to effectively and efficiently present any family law issue to a court for determination.
My courtroom experience includes litigating issues ranging from child custody, to distribution of property (including retirement assets, stock options and real estate), to issues pertaining to alimony and child support. I have also represented clients in protective order hearings, third-party depositions, and those seeking prenuptial agreements.
I have developed a particular interest in cases in which one or both of the spouses is in the military. Having come from a family dedicated to military service, I have an intense interest in all aspects of military divorce, including jurisdictional issues and those related to the division of military retired pay.
In addition to my trial experience, I have written briefs and presented arguments in Virginia’s appellate court system in such areas as validity of prenuptial agreements, spousal support modification, equitable distribution, and the effect of Social Security Disability payments on child support obligations.
Outside of the courtroom, I give back to the legal community by conducting Continuing Legal Education seminars for other attorneys and paralegals. I speak on topics including basic divorce law for paralegals, premarital agreements, division of military retirement benefits upon divorce, litigation of custody issues, custody evaluations and enforcement of Marital Agreements. I also serve as President of the Board of Directors for the Fairfax Law Foundation, the charitable arm of the Fairfax Bar Association.
If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment with me, please call our office at (703) 934-1480 or complete our initial consultation form. I look forward to meeting with you.
- Partner, Cooper Ginsberg Gray, PLLC (2004 – present)
- Associate Attorney, Shoun, Bach, Walinsky & Curran (1997-2004)
- Associate Attorney, Law Office of Marcia M. Maddox (1995 – 1997)
- Juris Doctor Degree, George Mason University School of Law, 1994
- Bachelor of Arts Degree, George Mason University, 1990
MEMBERSHIPS / SERVICE
- Virginia State Bar
- 5th District Committee (Section II) (2004 – 2010)
- Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course, Faculty Member (2014 – 2017)
- Fairfax Bar Association
- Law Related Education Committee (former Vice Chair)
- Fairfax Law Foundation
- Board Member (2015 – present)
- Secretary (2018 – 2019); President Elect (2019 – 2020); President (2020 – present)
- Secretary of Health and Human Resources Child Support Guideline Review Panel
- Member (2012 – 2014)
- AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America
- Recognized in Northern Virginia Magazine, Arlington Magazine, Virginia Business and Washingtonian Magazineas one of the DC Metro Area’s top family law attorneys
- Fairfax Bar Association, Dividing Retirement Assets Upon Divorce: Alleviating the Anxiety (February 2016)
- Virginia CLE, Dividing Retirement Assets Upon Divorce: Alleviating the Anxiety (September 2015)
- National Business Institute, Child Custody Evaluations: First Steps and Major Concepts (October 2013)
- National Business Institute, Advanced Issues in Divorce: Troubleshooting Marriage Dissolution Issues (June 2013)
- National Business Institute, Handing Divorce Cases from Start to Finish: Completing the Divorce (April 2012)
- Virginia CLE, Navigating the Perils of Dividing Retirement Assets Upon Divorce: Military Retirement (April 2010)
- Half Moon, LLC, Virginia Family Law Practice for Paralegals: Assisting with Child Custody Issues (March 2007)
- Jones v. Jones, 49 Va. App 31 (2006)
- McIntyre v. McIntyre, 25 Va. App. 612 (1997)
Sarah Avila, CFP®, CDFA®
Sarah Avila is a financial advisor at VLP Financial Advisors in Vienna, VA.
She is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP), as well as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA). Sarah offers wealth management, personal financial planning, and divorce financial planning.
Sarah is a member of her local Financial Planning Association (FPA). She is also a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts™ (IDFA) and is trained in the Collaborative Divorce process as a financial neutral.
As a CDFA®, Sarah helps clients understand the financial impact of divorce by empowering clients with necessary knowledge for negotiating fair settlements. Some common financial topics Sarah can help clients consider both during and after the divorce process include the following:
- Identifying the long-term outlook of dividing property
- Helping a client determine if he or she can afford to retain the marital home, and if not, determining alternative solutions.
- Helping clients assess current and future budgeting needs
- Analyzing the tax effects of different situations
- Establishing reasonable assumptions for projecting rates of return and inflation with regard to longer-term planning
- Calculating the present value of a future pension
- Analyzing clients’ insurance needs
- Providing information on Social Security income benefits as they pertain to divorce.
- And much more.
Sarah is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She also has a Master of Education from George Mason University. Prior to joining VLP Financial Advisors, Sarah worked at Lincoln Financial Group as a retirement consultant, providing education and assistance to teachers in local school districts with their retirement plans.
Sarah spent time earlier in her career as a mathematics teacher and enjoys taking an educational, and compassionate approach to her current role giving financial advice.
Sarah offers complimentary consultations to prospective clients and welcomes your inquiry!
Mike Russell – Director/President of Legal Investigations, Inc
Mr. Russell became President of Legal Investigations in 1988 and has been a licensed investigator since 1978. Mr. Russell is a graduate of Frostburg State University and received his Masters Degree in Forensic Science from George Washington University in 1984. He is a graduate of the Maryland Institute of Criminal Justice and a licensed polygraph examiner in the State of Virginia. Mr. Russell is the Compliance Agent and Qualifying Agent for Legal Investigations and has conducted investigations throughout many states in the country. He has testified as a child recovery expert and a domestic relations expert and has worked on over 12,000 cases involving criminal defense, insurance defense, and domestic related matters, nationally and internationally. Mr. Russell places emphasis on leadership, teamwork, ethics and core values which has been the force behind Legal Investigations Inc.
Mr. Russell is a member of the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI), an Associate Member of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), the National Association of Investigative Specialist (NAIS), Investigators Online (ION), Maryland Investigators and Security Association (MISA), Council of International Investigators (CII), American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) and recipient of the Meritorious Service Award in Charles County, Maryland.