The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog


Establishment and Disestablishment of Paternity in Virginia

Posted on August 27th, 2015, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Family Law. No Comments

Establishment of Paternity of a Child Born to a Married Mother

A child born to a married woman in Virginia is presumed to be the child of her husband, so long as they were married for the ten months preceding the birth of the child. The husband is the “presumptive father” of the child, with the same responsibility for child support as  a “legal father” (one who has been proven to be the father of a child).

However, the presumption of paternity in Virginia is rebuttable. In other words, the husband has the opportunity to prove that he is not the father despite the fact that he was married to the mother at the time of birth.

There are many ways to rebut the presumption of paternity. Perhaps the easiest and most certain way is to perform genetic paternity testing. In this age … Read More »


Six Things to Do Before Seeking a Divorce in Virginia

Posted on August 20th, 2015, by David Marquardt in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Going through a divorce results in a whirlwind of emotions—everything from extreme sadness and disappointment to elation and acceptance. Regardless of how the marriage ended, or whether the divorce is amicable or contested, people are often unprepared for the immense changes that come from a separation and divorce.

That being said, there are certain steps that you can take to better equip yourself for dealing with the transition from marriage to separation and, ultimately, to divorce. Consider doing each of the following six things at the outset, before seeking a divorce from your spouse in Virginia:

Go to a marriage counselor. This is especially true if you have children with your spouse. There is a reason why you got married in the first place, and you owe it to yourself, your spouse and your kids to see if there is an option other … Read More »


Legal Separation in Virginia

Posted on August 13th, 2015, by Amanda Stone Swart in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

A question that is often posed by persons seeking to separate from their spouse and eventually divorce, is whether or not there is a status of legal separation under Virginia law. The short answer is no, unlike many other states, Virginia’s domestic relations laws do not have a status for legal separation in cases where neither party is at fault in ending the marriage. However, there are many steps you can take to protect yourself, your children, and your assets as you separate from your spouse and move towards divorce.

Legal separation is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “the term that applies to a court sanctioned agreement for a husband and wife that details their obligations while living apart.” Some states allow couples to petition the courts for a status of legal separation, regardless of what is causing the breakdown … Read More »


Child Custody After Death of Parents

Posted on August 6th, 2015, by Ariel Baniowski in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Are you a divorced or unmarried parent? If so, have you ever wondered what would happen to your child in the event you died? If you are a noncustodial parent, have you wondered what would happen if the custodial parent died? Are there third parties with a legitimate interest in the child who would want custody in the event you or the other parent died?

These are all good questions and things that you should be thinking about now.

The Typical Case

Typically, if one parent dies, the other parent will assume custody in total. In the event both parents die, or in the event a single-parent dies (i.e. there exists no other legal parent), then hopefully there exists a valid will that appoints a guardian to the child, as well as an appointed trustee as to the child’s inherited property. In Virginia, a … Read More »


Marriage, Age and Divorce

Posted on August 3rd, 2015, by Jonathan McHugh in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

While there have been several studies lately which point to a decrease in the overall number of people getting married, there is a very obvious, but perhaps less publicized fact that comes along with fewer marriages: fewer divorces. These facts do not change the reality that most, if not all people, at some point in their lives, wonder when the “best” time to get married is. For some the answer is never; however, for many people the answer depends on several factors: age, maturity, financial considerations, career aspirations, etc.

An even more intriguing question is presented by a recent analysis performed by sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger: “When is the best age to get married if you don’t want to get divorced?”

Wolfinger’s analysis, aided by data provided by the National Survey of Family Growth, points out some seemingly intuitive and logical points. For example: … Read More »


Restoration of Parental Rights in Virginia

Posted on July 28th, 2015, by Laila Raheen in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Can You File for Custody If Your Parental Rights Were Terminated in Virginia?

If your parental rights to a child have been terminated, under Virginia law you do not have standing to file a petition for custody of that child. Under Virginia Code Section 20-124.1, a petitioner seeking custody of a child must be a “person with a legitimate interest.” The statute specifically provides that a person with a legitimate interest does not include a party whose parental rights have been terminated by a court order, either voluntarily or involuntarily. However, in 2013, the General Assembly enacted Virginia Code Section 16.1-283.2 to provide a procedure for restoration of parental rights. Once a parent’s parental rights are restored pursuant to that code section, he or she can file a petition for custody.

Who Can Petition for Restoration of Parental Rights?

The statute distinguishes as … Read More »


New Rule for Health Insurance Costs in Virginia Child Support

Posted on July 22nd, 2015, by Benjamin Carafiol in Family Law. No Comments

Each year, the Virginia legislature considers numerous proposed updates to Virginia family law. These updates range from universally significant changes such as last year’s revised child support guidelines (updated for the first time in nearly thirty years), to the loosened notice requirements for finalizing uncontested divorces, to addressing the perhaps mundane question of whether or not courts should consolidate juvenile cases under single case numbers.

That trend has continued into 2015, with the legislature passing—and Governor McAuliffe signing into law— updated provisions concerning the amount of health insurance cost to be included in calculating child support in Virginia.

Virginia’s child support guidelines provide courts a method for determining child support based on each parent’s income, the support by either parent of “other children” (such as by prior marriages), day care expenses and health care costs. Under the new law, effective July 1, 2015, for purposes of child support the health … Read More »


Experts to Have on Speed-Dial for Your Contested Divorce

Posted on July 20th, 2015, by Matthew Smith in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

If you find yourself in the middle of a contested divorce and the stakes are high, you may need more assistance than your attorney can provide. With an eye toward preparing your case for trial or simply aiding in the settlement process, several categories of experts can be utilized to bolster your position and create compelling evidence in your favor.

These experts are typically experienced as trial witnesses, and the best ones come armed with CVs that add weight to their testimony and shield them from withering cross-examination. Experts can also prepare reports for use as evidence in court or as tools to bring the parties closer to settlement.

You should consider whether hiring any of the following six types of experts would be a worthwhile investment of time and money in your ongoing divorce:

Business Evaluator: This expert can be critical in cases … Read More »


Child Support and Disability Benefits in Virginia

Posted on July 10th, 2015, by Carolyn Eaton in Family Law. No Comments

What happens to a Virginia child support obligation if the parent who was ordered to pay support starts receiving disability payments instead of a pay check? Can those disability benefits be seized through an income withholding order to pay child support?

Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI). SSI is a Social Security benefit that is based on financial need and does not derive from the recipient’s earnings record. Monthly payments are made to individuals who are 65 years or older, blind or disabled, earn little to no income and have few, if any, resources. A non-custodial parent who receives this type of disability benefit cannot have those monthly payments taken through income withholding. Likewise, any lump sum payment the non-custodial parent receives for past due benefits cannot be taken to satisfy child support arrears.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a … Read More »


The Emancipation of Minors in Virginia

Posted on July 6th, 2015, by Pia Miller in Family Law. No Comments

As we celebrate graduation season and waves of 18-year-olds going off to college or joining the military, we also think about the freedom that comes along with officially being an adult. For parents, you have maintained custody and control over your child their entire lives, and they are now free to make their own decisions.

However, there are certain instances where a teenager may seek to emancipate themselves from parental control prior to age 18. This is called the emancipation of minors, and is governed in Virginia by Virginia Code Section 16.1-331, et seq.

After a hearing, a Virginia court may declare a minor over the age of 16 as emancipated if the court finds the following:

That the minor has entered into a valid marriage;
That the minor is on active duty with any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces;
That the minor willingly … Read More »




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