David Masterman



David Masterman has practiced for over 35 years in Northern Virginia. He is admitted to the bars of Virginia’s state and federal courts, and to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Masterman has served as chair of the family law section of the Arlington County Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and, more recently, the Virginia State Bar. He served on the Board of Governors for the Family Law Section for 6 years and later on the Board of Governors of the General Practice Section of the Virginia State Bar for 2 years.

Mr. Masterman frequently lectures to other family law attorneys at both basic and advanced family law seminars, with topics ranging from the issues involved in divorce following short marriages, the effects of parental relocation on child custody arrangements, enforcement and setting aside of agreements, obtaining the best possible property division in divorce, and issues affecting custody of children, as well as the ethical rules applicable to attorneys in this practice field. He is also the author of a number of materials used as resources by other attorneys.

Mr. Masterman received his undergraduate degree with honors from Grinnell College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Considered an outstanding litigation tactician and courtroom attorney, Mr. Masterman nevertheless emphasizes the importance of exploring settlement when possible. He is considered “mediation-friendly” and is pleased to assist clients with that process. He also has significant experience in preparing and presenting cases in the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Other attorneys, professional athletes, politicians, corporate executives, military members, stay-at-home parents, and virtually every other type of person can be found among Mr. Masterman’s clientele.

Mr. Masterman carries the “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for skill and ethics, and is listed in its volume on pre-eminent attorneys in the United States. He has been recognized and listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and he has been ranked as one of the top family lawyers by the Washingtonian and Washington Post magazines. He is listed in the Ten Leaders for Domestic Relations Attorneys for Northern Virginia. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Mr. Masterman practices in all aspects of family law, except adoption matters. He most commonly appears in the circuit courts of Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, and Arlington County, but also regularly represents parties in Prince William and Fauquier Counties.


Texas Tech University

Grinnell College, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1981

University of Virginia School of Law J.D. 1984

Admitted to Practice

Virginia, 1985

District of Columbia, 1985 (inactive)

Ohio, 1984 (inactive)

Appellate Cases

Bailey v. Bailey, 2016
Case that helped establish and clarify the differences in proof needed to modify spousal support when it is set for a defined duration and for an undefined duration.

Everett v. Carome, 2015
Case exploring the interaction between court-ordered child support paid while a child is a minor and contractual child support paid after a child turns 18 but the parties agreed support would continue.

Everett v. Everett, 2009
Case on interpretation of a contract to maximize the amount of legal fees client received after prevailing in a trial

Wolfe v. Arthur, 2008
Case on whether the amount of a child support arrearage, and the interest rate thereon, was correctly calculated

AOV v. JRV, 2007
Case concerning the custodial rights of a gay father and the reservation of spousal support for a wife after her support ended

Keeling v. Keeling, 2006
Case about methods of calculating the separate component of hybrid real property in equitable distribution

Kearney v. Kearney, 2005
Cross-appeals concerning decisions in an unusual case in which the parties divorced, remarried, and divorced again

D’Ambrosio v. D’Ambrosio, 2005
Case concerning vesting final decision making authority in one parent when the parents stop cooperating

Miller v. Cox, 2005
Case often cited for the idea that spousal support can include an amount for savings if the parties were savers during the marriage

John S v. Virginia Dept. of Social Services, 2004
Highly technical case on Child Protective Services procedures

McDonald v. Minton, 2004
Effort to overturn a mother’s contempt of court finding for withholding visitation based on procedural grounds

Miller v. Miller, 2003
Case about the treatment of various retirement accounts in divorce

Marks v. Marks, 2001
Case arising from a divorce arbitration decision and the procedures surrounding such arbitrations

Hastie v. Hastie, 1999
Case concerning the timing as to when a court may modify a ruling on the division of retirement benefits

Penrod v. Penrod, 1999
Case on the termination of spousal support when a recipient cohabited

Etter v. Etter, 1998
Appeal upholding client father’s securing of sole legal custody of three children from mother after misconduct by her

Lane v. Lane, 1997
Appeal upholding client father’s award of custody of children

Fahey v. Fahey, 1996
Case concerning how and when a court may modify a ruling dividing the retirement benefits

Aidonis v. Brooks, 1995
Case concerning the appeal of many issues

Gayler v. Gayler, 1995
Case interpreting language in an agreement to allow client wife to continue to receive alimony after remarriage

Ingram v. Snarr-Ingram, 1994
Case on how to determine the part-separate portion of the marital home

Oliveri v. Mardula, 1992
Case about the modification of child support

Honors / Awards

Best Lawyers in America

Super Lawyers

Washingtonian Magazine Best Divorce Lawyers

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers member

Member, Ten Leaders – Matrimonial & Divorce Law – Northern Virginia, inducted 2005

Speaking Engagements

Partial List Only

14th Adv Family Law – Ethical Issues in Family Law Practice

15th Adv Family law – Business Issues
17th Ann Family Law – How Do I Handle the Hard Issues?

16th Adv Family Law – Setting the Stage: Review of the Hypothetical of the Millionaire Couple and Program Goals

18th Adv Family law – Setting Aside the Agreement

22nd Ann Family Law – Fundamentals of Custody Statutes, Cases and Strategies

23rd Ann Family Law – Conflicts of Interest in Domestic Relations Practice: When Are You Conflicted Out of the Case?

21st Adv Family Law – How to Get Better Than 50-50 in Your ED Cases

22nd Adv Family Law – “We Can Work It Out”: Post-Divorce Instructions Your Clients Need to Know

23rd Adv Family Law – “What Makes You So Special?” – Introduction of Experts, Expert Reports, and Expert Testimony in Domestic Relations Cases

27th Ann Family Law – Ethical Issues in Family Law Litigation: In and Out of the Courtroom
Annual Divorce Practice – Selection of Appeal Issues, Compliance with Part 5A of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Standards of Review and Effective Brief Writing

30th Ann Family Law – Ethical Issues in the Modern World

Legal Ethics in the Modern World – Legal Ethics: Yeah, You Have to do That

33rd Ann Family Law – Nonmarital, Premarital, and Reconciliation Agreements
Advanced Legal Writing

17 Things Lawyers Learn (Often the Hard Way!)

How to Successfully Try a Divorce Case in Virginia

33rd Adv. Family Law – The Ethical Lawyer’s Survival Guide to Unusual Circumstances
CLE and Washington Capitals Hockey: Smooth Skating Through Third Party Discovery: Tips and Tactics for Subpoenas, Depositions and Private Investigators

What Lawyers Learn (Often the Hard Way)
Family Law Mediation
Words of Affirmation: Admissions, Stipulations, Representations and Warranties


Commonwealth of Virginia

US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia

US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

US Supreme Court

American Bar Association

Virginia State Bar: Former Board of Governors, General Practice Section

Virginia State Bar: Former Board of Governors, Past Chair, Family Law Section

Virginia State Bar: Board of Governors of the Diversity Conference (Presently: Secretary)

Fairfax County Bar Association

Arlington County Bar Association; Former Chair, Family Law Section

Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Former Chair, Family Law Section

Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Community Organizations

Treasurer for neighborhood homeowner’s association (2010-2017)