The District of Columbia recently amended its D.C. Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Amendment Act (aka D.C. Parentage Act) to allow some non-D.C. residents additional adoption rights. The amendment, which took effect in March 2013, allows D.C. courts the power to grant an adoption to any child who is born in the District, even if the family does not reside in D.C.
The original D.C. Parentage Act, enacted in 2009, was the first law of its kind in the country. It allowed lesbian couples who were married, registered as domestic partners in D.C., or who signed a Consent to Parent, to adopt children born to the couple in the District. The Act conferred the status of parent on both partners in the couple, where one of the women gave birth to a child using donor insemination and the other woman consented to her … Read More »
For many people the first time they need the assistance of counsel is when there are issues in their relationship. An unfortunate consequence of relationships ending is sometimes domestic violence. In Virginia, persons who experience domestic violence or have a reasonable fear of domestic violence can seek civil protective orders and sometimes the alleged abuser can be criminally prosecuted. This overlap of civil protective orders and criminal charges has important consequences for how these cases are handled in Virginia.
There are three types of civil protective orders in Virginia: (1) emergency protective orders, (2) preliminary protective orders and (3) permanent protective orders.
An emergency protective order under Virginia Code Section 16.1-253.4 may prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim, entering the victim’s home or apartment (even if shared), or abusing the victim in the future. Typically, it is obtained through … Read More »
The Fairfax County Courthouse (called the “Jennings Judicial Center”) is the busiest courthouse in the Commonwealth. The Fairfax Circuit Court judges strive to ensure that the Circuit Court criminal and civil dockets run as smoothly and expeditiously as possible. As per the Constitution of the United States, persons charged with crimes are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial. This requires the Circuit Court to implement strict procedures to guarantee that the civil docket, including divorce cases, can proceed in a timely manner.
As discussed by Matthew Smith in Navigating The Fairfax County Courts, civil motions are heard on Fridays in Fairfax Circuit Court. One of the most common motions heard on Fridays are motions related to Pendente Lite Relief. A divorcing party can use a Motion for Pendente Lite Relief to seek a number of different remedies including, but not limited … Read More »
A Kansas man is garnering national attention because he is being required to pay child support after donating sperm to a lesbian couple. The Kansas man, William Marotta, answered an online advertisement to donate sperm to a lesbian couple. In 2009 the couple and Mr. Marotta entered into an agreement in which he gave up his parental rights to the lesbian couple and was absolved of any financial responsibility.
After the birth of the child, the lesbian couple ended their relationship. The child received more than $6,000 in state benefits. As in Virginia, Kansas requires that the Department of Children and Families (or the Department of Social Services in Virginia) attempt to recuperate those expenses through biological parents.
The state of Kansas says that because Mr. Marotta did not work through a clinic or doctor, as the state law requires, he can … Read More »
Beginning the divorce process is chaotic, emotional, and often times overwhelming. Many people believe that coming to an agreement as fast as possible is the best resolution. People research online and find phrases such as “Property Settlement Agreements” or “Marital Settlement Agreements” and conclude that such a document will solve their problems.
In trying to reach such an agreement, many people take it upon themselves to negotiate and sign documents without the assistance of counsel. For many reasons signing any agreement or contract without having an attorney review it is a poor decision. You know your life and marriage better than anyone else, but unless you are a family law attorney it is unlikely that you know the potential ramifications and pitfalls of signing a Property Settlement Agreement.
Here is an example to illustrate the power of a Property Settlement Agreement. Assume … Read More »