The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog

Stewart, Pattinson Fight For Pet Custody: But Would Virginia Divide The Dog?

Posted on August 16th, 2012, by Benjamin Carafiol in Divorce, Family Law. 1 Comment

As reported by multiple news outlets, the four-year relationship between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart (co-stars of the popular “Twilight” film series) is coming to an end. The most recent ripple effect of this break-up is the ensuing pet custody battle over their rescued dog, Bear. The New York Daily News reports that Pattinson wants Bear all to himself, while Stewart is seeking “joint custody” of their pet.

Pets are an integral part of many family units, and pet custody cases are on the rise across the nation. However, as I previously explained on this blog, Virginia law still treats pets as “mere property” to be divided in divorce cases. A Virginia court could no more order joint custody of a dog or a cat than it could order joint custody of a plasma television, a kitchen table, or an eggplant … Read More »

Facebook Evidence in Divorce Cases

Posted on August 13th, 2012, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Facebook Evidence in Divorce Cases

With the integration of social media into the everyday personal lives of so many, it’s no wonder that Facebook was cited in 20 percent of divorce cases filed in 2010. That number has only continued to rise. While Facebook can be a powerful tool for proving your case in court, you should steer clear of certain evidentiary pitfalls.

All things considered, logging on to your spouse’s Facebook account using their email address and password is not a good way to gather evidence. Even when using a shared home computer, you run the risk of having your spouse’s attorney object to the evidence because of how it was obtained, or even having criminal charges filed against you. Simply put: logging in to your spouse’s Facebook account might get you trouble, and probably won’t result in evidence that the court will actually consider.

However, there … Read More »

Custody Software Highlights the Need for Communication

Posted on August 10th, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Custody, Family Law. Comments Off on Custody Software Highlights the Need for Communication

Sharing the responsibility of raising a child with a person with whom you no longer share a relationship is never easy. Every situation varies, but at some point most parents forget how important it is to be able to communicate, and then (hopefully) quickly realize that not communicating is simply not an option. But learning how to communicate in child custody and visitation situations is a process and a journey, with pitfalls and setbacks along the way.

When Prineville, Oregon resident Lynn White divorced her husband with whom she shared two children, she knew that communicating would be tough but necessary. She was so invested in the idea that she created an online custody management program to help. Her custody program, called “Divaroo,” allows parents to upload report cards and homework into a shared documents folder and to review a shared calendar … Read More »

The 10-Year Rule in Military Divorce Cases

Posted on August 9th, 2012, by Benjamin Carafiol in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on The 10-Year Rule in Military Divorce Cases

The so-called “10/10 Rule” (or 10-Year Rule) is a source of confusion for many individuals when dealing with a military divorce. Some believe it requires a couple to be married for 10 years before a spouse has a right to any portion of a servicemember’s military retirement. Others believe it requires the parties be married for ten years during active duty service before a spouse is entitled to any portion of military retirement. Still others believe that service must be for 10 consecutive years of service while married before a spouse earns a right to receive a division of military retired pay.

It may surprise you to learn that each of these beliefs is wrong.

The 10/10 Rule has nothing to do with a state court’s authority to treat military retired pay as a marital asset to be divided upon divorce. Even … Read More »

Wait, I’m Not The Father

Posted on August 7th, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Family Law. Comments Off on Wait, I’m Not The Father

Many parents say the moment that they learned they were going to be parent is pure joy and unforgettable. But those men who are not married, and sometimes men who are married, can wonder about the certainty of paternity and what would happen if they are not the father.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an interesting ruling related to this issue. Like Virginia, Iowa has a firm rule that a father who is court-ordered to pay child support cannot recoup monies paid if it is later learned that he is not the biological father. But the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a father who provides support without a court order then later learns the child is not his can sue civilly for monies paid, under the theory of fraud.

The point remains, however, that if you are a man who finds that … Read More »

Supreme Court May Review Treatment Of VA Disability Pay In Support Cases

Posted on August 5th, 2012, by Benjamin Carafiol in Family Law, Military Divorce. 12 comments

Disabled veteran Peter Barclay has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether a veteran’s disability pay should be included as income for spousal support purposes. The Oregon District Court that entered the divorce between Barclay and his wife in 2010 ordered Barclay to pay $1,000 per month in spousal support based on his income received from his VA benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance. Barclay appealed this matter through Oregon’s state courts, and the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decision.

The case raises issues under Title 38 of the United States Code, which deals with Veterans’ benefits. Section 5301 of Title 38 makes VA disability benefits immune “from taxation, claims of creditors, attachment, levy and seizure.” What this Section does not clearly state, however, is whether disability benefits are also immune from inclusion in a veteran’s income for … Read More »

Non-Payment of Child Support In Virginia

Posted on August 4th, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Family Law. Comments Off on Non-Payment of Child Support In Virginia

Why You Probably Won’t Get Community Service If You Don’t Pay

On May 29, 2012, a California court found Dennis Rodman, best known for his basketball career and outlandish antics, guilty on four counts of contempt for not paying previously court-ordered spousal and child support. The judge ordered Rodman to 104 hours of community service and probation. Reading about such a light sentence for a flagrant violator of court-ordered support might discourage a parent from filing a court action, or may give false comfort to a parent who is failing to pay court-ordered support. Whichever side of the case you are on, you should realize that such a community service sentence is not a punishment to be expected in Virginia courts.

The state legislature and courts across Virginia are firm in the belief that child support is for the benefit of the child, … Read More »

Virginia Legislature Makes Major Change to Virginia Adoption Procedure

Posted on August 2nd, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Family Law. Comments Off on Virginia Legislature Makes Major Change to Virginia Adoption Procedure

The Virginia legislature enacted a number of bills related to adoption which went into effect on July 1, 2012. Many of these bills clarify and make easier various points of the adoption process. One bill in particular, HB 451, could have serious implications in a number of parental placement adoptions, close family adoptions, and stepparent adoptions.

HB 451 amended Virginia Code 63.2-1203 to include a requirement that a parent who does not consent to the adoption of the child, but whose consent to the adoption is required under Virginia Code 63.2-1202, shall be given notice of his/her right to counsel and if determined indigent shall be appointed counsel.

When adoptions are executed, one or both of the biological parents’ rights are terminated. The United States Supreme Court has stated that a parent has a constitutional right to the care, custody, and control of … Read More »

Joint Liability Of Spouses For Emergency Medical Care In Virginia

Posted on August 1st, 2012, by Benjamin Griffitts in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Joint Liability Of Spouses For Emergency Medical Care In Virginia

“What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” We have all made that joke at one time or another. Much of the time, we don’t mean it when we say it; and certainly, almost 100% of the time, the person we’re saying it to does not think we mean it. However, in the law, this old adage can prove true, but not in the way you might initially think, and it could have an impact on you in a variety of areas of law.

Imagine that your spouse is the victim of a head-on motor vehicle accident. The other driver is to blame. Your spouse is transported by EMS to the nearest hospital’s emergency department and treated for serious injuries. Your spouse is discharged after two days and expected to make a full recovery thanks to the swift work of … Read More »

The Adoption Revocation Period In Virginia

Posted on July 31st, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Family Law. Comments Off on The Adoption Revocation Period In Virginia

We’ve all seen the Lifetime movies. A child is adopted into a loving family and then months or years later a biological parent wants the child back. Then a long and dramatic court battle ensues. All potential adoptive parents at some point wonder whether their life could turn into a Lifetime movie. But, can a biological parent really come back and contest an adoption? The answer is yes, but under limited circumstances and within a narrow window of time. This time period is called the revocation period.

Different laws apply to adoptions through agencies or through the Department of Social Services, but for parental placement adoptions the revocation period is regulated by Virginia Code Section 63.2-1234. This code section establishes that consent shall be revocable under two circumstances:

First, consent is revocable by either consenting birth parent for any reason for up to … Read More »

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