The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog
As a criminal defense lawyer, I commonly confront individuals charged with assault and battery who feel that they were the real victims of the altercation. In some cases there is evidence to support their claim: for example, they may have been the one to call police, may have looked to be in worse shape after the fight, or the other person may have unquestionably instigated the altercation. What each of these stories share is a common belief from each accused that they are the true victims of the crime. That they were acting in self-defense.
So what, exactly, is self-defense? To answer that, one must first understand what constitutes assault and battery, which we explain in our guide to Assault and Battery Defense in Virginia. As explained there, an assault under Virginia law is defined as basically any “overt act” to another person that is … Read More »
Marital Settlement or Property Settlement Agreements are contracts which can settle by agreement all of the rights, interests, and obligations of separating or divorcing parties, and can also resolve all claims or demands each might have against the other. A Settlement Agreement lays the foundation for a couple to proceed with an uncontested divorce. And, where the parties have no minor children, an executed Settlement Agreement shortens the separation period necessary before filing for divorce in Virginia from 12 months to only 6 months.
The typical Property Settlement Agreement covers division of assets, division of debts, and spousal support, as well as child custody, visitation and child support, if applicable. Full and comprehensive agreements can remove the need for expensive and time-consuming litigation. Settlement Agreements also afford the parties greater control over the results of the termination of their marriage, instead … Read More »
Many family law cases, whether resolved through court order or a separation agreement, include payments from one party to the other. Typically these are separated out into different actions – spousal support, child support, dividing bank accounts, or even paying the other party’s expenses. What you transfer to your spouse, or receive from your spouse, can make a huge difference when it comes to your annual income taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule addressing this situation is on the surface quite clear. In Publication 504, the IRS states that alimony payments are deductible from income by the person paying alimony, and must be included as income by the spouse receiving the alimony payments. Looking up alimony in the dictionary will tell you that alimony is the same thing as spousal support, but unfortunately it is not that easy. The IRS … Read More »
Let’s say you’ve just lost your job.
This is not a far-fetched idea for most people. In the past four years, the United States has gone through the longest period with so many unemployed for so long since the Great Depression.
Let’s say you were earning $140,000 a year as a consultant before being let go. You lived comfortably with your family in an affluent neighborhood in an excellent school district.
Let’s also say that now you’re in the process of a divorce from your wife of 15 years. You have two young children and she’s always been their primary caretaker. She has two years of post-high school education, and worked as a salesperson at the local mall until you had kids together. Then she became a stay-at-home mother, and it was agreed that you would be the sole breadwinner until the children … Read More »
Over the years, I have met with scores of non-citizens who entered into criminal plea agreements without being aware of potential immigration consequences. Whether old or recent, a criminal conviction can have devastating effects on one’s immigration status. While consequences such as probation or incarceration may be expected, a non-citizen can sometimes be confronted with a more dire consequence – deportation.
Post-conviction relief (PCR) refers to reopening criminal convictions in the hopes of vacating a conviction or modifying a sentence so as to avoid unintended immigration consequences. Up until a few years ago, the rules governing PCR were murky in the nation as a whole and in Virginia specifically.
Then, in mid-2009, I was able to convince an Alexandria Circuit Court Judge to reduce my client’s 1997 petit larceny conviction from 12 months to 360 days because of ineffective assistance of counsel … Read More »
For the past few years, you have helped raise your ten-year-old grandson. Since you have taken this active role in your grandson’s life, he has thrived. Recently, your requests for visitation with your grandson have gone ignored, and you have concern as to how your detachment from your grandson will affect him. What legal avenue could you possibly take that would lead back to you being able to spend time with your grandson?
One option available to grandparents is to file a petition for visitation with the court. Although Virginia has made it clear that the courts are to consider the parent-child relationship primary and to not interfere with a parent’s right to raise a child as the parent sees fit, whenever the state has a compelling interest, such as the protection of the welfare of the child, the court may … Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 »