The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog

Are You Ready For Immigration Reform?

Posted on January 31st, 2013, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. 1 Comment

This has been an exciting week for immigration law in the United States. On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators revealed a comprehensive immigration reform plan. On Tuesday, President Obama largely endorsed the senators’ plan. In the next few months, lawmakers will undertake the difficult task of drafting, and then voting on, proposed legislation.

The plans proposed by the President and the bipartisan group of senators both contain one very important element: a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants presently living in the U.S. These immigrants would obtain a “probationary” or “provisional” legal status followed by a green card and then U.S. citizenship.

Although several details must be ironed out, the immigration reform plan that Congress and the President are likely to enact should open up tremendous new opportunities for green cards and citizenship for millions of people who where … Read More »

Navigating The Fairfax County Courts

Posted on January 29th, 2013, by Matthew Smith in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. 1 Comment

If you have a hearing or trial scheduled in Fairfax County, the Fairfax County Courthouse (called the “Jennings Judicial Center”) may at first seem overwhelming. The busiest courthouse in the Commonwealth of Virginia sees approximately 20,000 people enter on a weekly basis, and the enormous, $120 million expansion, which was completed in 2008, only adds to the potential for intimidation.

When arriving, it’s important to note that the public parking garage is a 5-10 minute walk to the main entrance. Long lines will often develop at the security checkpoint that everyone must traverse, so be sure to arrive early. An information desk is available past the security area to provide further assistance.

For cases in family law, which is my area of practice, the Circuit Courtrooms are located on the fourth and fifth floors, and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR) Courtrooms … Read More »

Expungement of Juvenile Records in Virginia

Posted on January 24th, 2013, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. Comments Off on Expungement of Juvenile Records in Virginia

As citizens, we often give allowance for a certain amount of misconduct by juveniles. We recall our own indiscretions, perhaps, or we just simply understand that maturity and experience often come after a failure or misstep. Virginia’s criminal justice system also provides for some latitude in giving juveniles an opportunity to learn from, and move past, mistakes or conduct that land them in front of a judge. One of the most common methods for achieving this, and perhaps the most misunderstood, is the automatic expungement of juvenile records pursuant to Virginia Code Section 16.1-306.

The common misconception about juvenile records is that they are always secret. This is untrue. Juvenile records are generally non-public, but a variety of exceptions provide for certain individuals or agencies to access juvenile records. Another common misconception is that once a juvenile becomes an adult (at … Read More »

Military Retirement And Disability Ratings Under Fifty Percent

Posted on January 22nd, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on Military Retirement And Disability Ratings Under Fifty Percent

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) recognizes the ability of state courts to distribute a portion of a servicemember’s military retirement to a former spouse. Notably, USFSPA specifies that the maximum amount that can be paid to a former spouse is fifty percent of a servicemember’s “disposable retired pay,” which does not include retired pay that he or she waives in order to receive VA disability pay. In Mansell v. Mansell, 490 U.S. 581 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed this rule and held that state courts may not divide upon divorce the military retired pay that a servicemember waives in order to receive disability pay.

The exclusion of retired pay waived for disability pay from division by state courts created perceptions of inequity in divorce cases, particularly where a servicemember had a high VA disability rating and could waive … Read More »

H-1B Visa Requirements

Posted on January 17th, 2013, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Immigration Law. Comments Off on H-1B Visa Requirements

As the traditional holidays are behind us, you may find yourself anxiously awaiting the upcoming H-1B season. H-1B visas provide a way for foreign nationals to live and work in the United States, for a temporary period, in a specialty occupation. Even in the current job market, these visas remain in high demand. This demand makes proper filing of an H-1B petition all the more important.

The term “H-1B filing season” stems from the limited supply of the visas vs. the overwhelming demand. The current cap on the number of H-1B visas that may be awarded each year is 65,000. Some visas are set aside from this allowance for treaties involving Chile and Singapore, bringing the total of available visas to 58,200. The first day that H-1B petitions are considered each year is April 1st, which marks the beginning of the … Read More »

Sperm Donation: More Complicated Than You Think…

Posted on January 9th, 2013, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Family Law. Comments Off on Sperm Donation: More Complicated Than You Think…

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 »

Phase-In Of Concurrent Receipt Nears Completion

Posted on January 7th, 2013, by Benjamin Carafiol in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on Phase-In Of Concurrent Receipt Nears Completion

Beginning in 2014, retired servicemembers eligible for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) will no longer have to waive any portion of their military retirement in order to receive VA disability compensation. The CRDP program, enacted in 2004, allowed military retirees with a VA disability rating of 50% of higher, and 20 or more years of military service, to receive both military retired pay and VA disability compensation at the same time. This has been commonly referred to as the “concurrent receipt” of disability pay and retired pay.

Before creation of the CRDP, military retirees were forbidden by law to receive both military retirement benefits and VA disability compensation. Parties seeking disability benefits were required to waive an equivalent portion of their military retired pay.

The CRDP program was structured to phase in the disability payments over a ten-year period. In 2013, eligible retirees will … Read More »

Open House For Free Immigration Consults

Posted on January 2nd, 2013, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. Comments Off on Open House For Free Immigration Consults

2013 is poised to be a significant year for immigrants in the United States. From deferred action for young immigrants to new rules for extreme hardship waivers, and from new policies regarding prosecutorial discretion to the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform, this is a critical time for immigrants.

In this environment, good legal counsel will be essential to obtaining any immigration benefit. In that light, on Thursday, January 17, 2013, the immigration department at Livesay & Myers, P.C. will be hosting its first Open House of the year. Free, 30-minute consultations will be given between the hours of 9:30 – 5 p.m. at our Manassas office located at 9408 Grant Avenue, Suite 402, Manassas, 20110. Though walk-in appointments will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis, interested individuals are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling 571-208-1267.

The Power Of The Property Settlement Agreement

Posted on December 28th, 2012, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on The Power Of The Property Settlement Agreement

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 »

Voting Or Registering To Vote By Non-Citizens

Posted on December 27th, 2012, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. 2 comments

As the dust has now largely settled on the recent Presidential election, we can put voting aside until the next State or Federal election. Regardless of whether your particular candidate won, I think we can all acknowledge that voting in America remains a truly safe and democratic process that is simply not present in some countries.

Gaining the right to vote is one of the most prized features of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. I have watched many clients describe, with great fervor, their excitement over voting for the very first time as an American citizen. It’s a particular type of fervor that reminds me to never take such a privilege for granted.

On the other hand, non-citizens who, purposefully or inadvertently, vote or simply register to vote in State or Federal elections can land themselves in some very hot water. Not only … Read More »

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