The Fairfax County Circuit Court recently issued an opinion that sheds light on an important aspect of Virginia divorce law: when divorcing parties include a provision for spousal support in a separation agreement that is incorporated into a divorce decree, that spousal support can only be modified later if the language of the agreement specifically allows for modification.
In Gordon v. Gordon, the parties divorced in 2003 after signing a separation agreement that provided for an award of spousal support (alimony). The Agreement made support non-modifiable, stating:
The husband agrees to pay to the wife, as and for her non-modifiable support and maintenance, the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per month, the initial payment to be made on the first day of the month following execution of this Agreement by both parties, and to continue in consecutive monthly installments on the first … Read More »
Being charged with a crime is, for almost anyone, a nerve-racking experience. If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a crime in Virginia, the first thing you will want do do is refuse to speak to the authorities without an attorney present. Then of course you will want to find an attorney as soon as possible. Finally, you should do a little research both as to the particulars of the criminal charges you are facing, and as to the overall criminal process in Virginia.
To help you on that last point, here is a guide through the five steps of the judicial process in Virginia, and what to expect from a good criminal defense attorney throughout each stage:
Step 1: Initial Investigation. The best criminal lawyers usually advise clients to remain silent when questioned by law … Read More »
In this interview last night on 92.9 The Game, Livesay & Myers criminal attorney (and former prosecutor) Eugene Oliver spoke at length about the investigation into the rape allegation against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. In the interview, Mr. Oliver predicted that the prosecutor would not bring a criminal charge against Winston—a prediction that came true today at the prosecutor’s press conference in Tallahassee.
92.9 The Game is a sports radio station in Atlanta, Georgia.
It is a common story. You get married. You and your new husband or wife buy a beautiful new home. Everything is grand.
But then everything, gradually, over time, becomes… less grand, downright miserable, in fact. You separate. You contemplate divorce. You visit an attorney.
The question arises: what happens to the money that you (or your spouse) used to make the down payment? What happens to that money when you divorce?
There is a general rule that applies to this scenario under Virginia law. Just as background, real estate, when purchased during the marriage, is, by default under Virginia law, marital property regardless of how the real estate is titled. That is, the real estate can be titled in both of your names or solely or in the name of one party. It makes no difference to the question of whether or … Read More »
On June 3rd, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed a provision of Virginia law and declared it invalid as applied, in the case of Hillman v. Maretta.
The case had to do with the distribution of life insurance proceeds for federal government employees enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program.
The facts were undisputed. A federal government employee by the name of Warren Hillman filed a Designation of Beneficiary with FEGLI listing his wife as the beneficiary. Mr. Hillman and his wife later divorced, and Mr. Hillman remarried, but his new wife was never designated as a FEGLI beneficiary. When Mr. Hillman died, Judy Maretta, the ex-wife, collected the FEGLI proceeds and was promptly sued in state court by Mr. Hillman’s widow Ms. Jacqueline Hillman.
At issue in the state court action and its appeals was the … Read More »
Going to court for the first time can be an intimidating experience. Whether you are facing criminal charges or find yourself in court in a divorce or custody case, remaining calm in court can really help you make your most effective case. We put together the infographic below to help you understand all the different parts of the courtroom, so you can feel at ease on your day in court. This infographic explains who people are, what they do, and where they sit. We’ve also included some interesting facts about courtrooms, and funny quotes from actual court cases.
Our experienced attorneys in Fairfax, Fredericksburg, and Manassas, Virginia feel right at home in the courtroom—hopefully this information will allow you to also be at ease in front of the judge or jury.
Click the image to see a bigger version
If you enjoyed this infographic, or found it useful, feel free to use it on … Read More »
Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court has the authority in your divorce suit to classify the property of the parties as separate, marital or hybrid, to distribute any jointly owned marital property between the parties, and to grant a monetary award to either party to ensure that the division of marital property is fair and equitable.
The law of equitable distribution is complex, and not every detail will be addressed in this blog post. The purpose of this post is instead to set forth a few simple principles to help you determine what property will be off-limits to your spouse in your divorce case. In other words, what do you get to keep? What is your sole, separate property not subject to equitable distribution?
Generally speaking, the following kinds of property will be classified as separate in Virginia:
Property … Read More »
The first step for most people in obtaining legal counsel for a divorce is to have an initial consultation with an attorney. Most consultations are scheduled for one-half to one full hour and most divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia do charge a consultation fee. The consultation is your opportunity to describe your situation to an attorney and receive an overview of the legal issues in your divorce, and perhaps a proposed course of action. It is also your opportunity to interview the lawyer in order to decide if they are the person to best represent you and your legal interests. Likewise, the consultation allows the attorney to determine if the case is one in which they can offer assistance.
To make the most of your divorce consultation, remember the following:
Seek assistance early. In many instances, there are deadlines for response … Read More »
When someone rear-ends you at a stoplight and you end up with a broken leg, they (or their auto insurance carrier) pay your medical bills, plus a little extra for your pain, suffering and inconvenience. If your doctor commits medical malpractice in the course of your healthcare, you are compensated in a similar fashion. If you slip on a wet floor at the supermarket, again, the supermarket may have a duty to make things right.
But what about a cheating spouse? Does the law compensate for a broken heart in the same way as a broken leg? Do Virginia courts require your wandering spouse to “make things right” in hard, monetary terms? Will a judge sway a divorce settlement in your favor since you are, after all, the wronged spouse?
In stark, unforgiving terms, your spouse’s infidelity does not require him … Read More »
If your spouse was a reckless spender during your marriage, and you thought divorce would finally end the financial pillage of your hard-earned dollars and the unspeakable terrorizing of your credit score—think again. Effective July 2011, all debt incurred by either party after the date of marriage and before the date of separation is presumed to be marital. But, you protest, she signed up for that Macy’s card alone and I haven’t seen one thing in the house from Macy’s! According to the amended Virginia Code Section 20-107.3(A), if you believe a debt incurred during the marriage is separate, you have to prove it, regardless of whose name was on the account.
It was not always this way. In April 2010, in the case of Gilliam v. McGrady, the Virginia Supreme Court stated that debts jointly incurred during the marriage are … Read More »