The Livesay & Myers Blog


Family Care Plans and Custody Orders in Virginia

Posted on August 12th, 2014, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Custody, Family Law, Military Divorce. No Comments

A Family Care Plan (FCP) is a document that certain active duty or reserve servicemembers, and some DOD civilians, are required by the Department of Defense to maintain in order to ensure that their children (and incapacitated parents) are taken care of if they are called away to service.

Any person required by DOD Instruction 1342.19 to maintain a Family Care Plan must do so in a certain amount of time. Other than the requirements with respect to timely filing, the instructions are fairly broad as to what can and should be included in the FCP.

At a minimum, a Family Care Plan allows the military member to designate another party to care for his or her child during any period where the member is unavailable due to military service obligations.

Though the DOD requires this plan of action and files it in each servicemember’s … Read More »


Spousal Support Reservations in Virginia

Posted on August 11th, 2014, by Julia Jones in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Virginia Code Section 20-107.1 provides that pursuant to a divorce, a court may reserve the right of a party to receive spousal support in the future. Furthermore, “in any case so reserved, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the reservation will continue for a period equal to 50 percent of the length of time between the date of marriage and the date of separation. Once granted, the duration of such reservation shall not be subject to modification.”

What does this mean? This means that in lieu of a spousal support award, or in addition to a spousal support award, a Virginia court can grant a reservation for one or both parties to seek additional spousal support from the other in the future.

Why would a spouse not elect to immediately pursue his or her reservation? Because it’s not as simple as … Read More »


Where Should You File Your Family Law Case?

Posted on July 28th, 2014, by Ariel Baniowski in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

The Difference Between Jurisdiction and Venue

Jurisdiction and venue are two very different legal terms that are often, and wrongly, used interchangeably.

Jurisdiction is the power of a court to adjudicate a case upon the merits and dispose of it as justice may require. Litigants cannot bestow this power on the court by waiver or consent; jurisdiction can only be granted to a court by constitution or legislation. In Virginia, a court has jurisdiction over a family law case if it has (1) jurisdiction over the subject matter, (2) jurisdiction over the person, and (3) jurisdiction to render the specific relief sought. For example, pursuant to Virginia Code Section 20-96, the circuit courts in Virginia have jurisdiction over suits for annulment, divorce, separate maintenance, and for affirming marriages.

In contrast, venue is the place where the power to adjudicate a controversy is exercised, and it can be waived … Read More »


How to Lock in Your Custody Agreement and Avoid an Appeal

Posted on July 24th, 2014, by Benjamin Carafiol in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

The juvenile and domestic relations district courts (“J&DR courts”) in the Commonwealth of Virginia have jurisdiction over cases to determine child custody and visitation. While this jurisdiction is “concurrent” with the circuit courts (meaning either court can hear such a case), a vast majority of custody disputes begin—and end—in J&DR courts. Parties to custody cases before a J&DR court do retain the automatic right to appeal any decision to the circuit court for a brand new trial, meaning that parents could potentially have to go through a complete custody trial not once, but twice, before being able to move on with their lives.

This reason is one among many that could lead parties to resolve a custody battle through a negotiated agreement. But the last thing a parent wants to face is the other parent backing out of an agreed-upon custody arrangement, … Read More »


Green Cards Through the Immigration Registry

Posted on July 21st, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

I recently handled the immigration case of an individual who has resided in the U.S. since the late 1950s. Having entered on a farmworker visa and then falling out of status once the visa expired, my client filed for a green card based on a little-known program in the U.S. called Registry. Quite simply, Registry allows for a person to obtain a green card (or permanent residency) if they can prove physical and continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1, 1972.

Other criteria for a green card through the Registry include that the individual is:

a person of good moral character;
not ineligible for citizenship; and
not deportable as a terrorist or inadmissible for engaging in Nazi persecution, genocide, torturous acts, or extrajudicial killings.

Importantly, the applicant must have proof of his/her continuous physical presence in the U.S. since 1972. Such proof includes: bills, … Read More »


Surge of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border

Posted on July 14th, 2014, by Susannah Nichols in Immigration Law. No Comments

Over the last few weeks, the recent upsurge of unaccompanied minor children crossing illegally into the United States has caught the attention of the media and protesters alike. Anti-immigration activists will predictably seek to frame this situation in the most political terms possible. But this is a case where, rather than arguing over invisible borders, we should act as adults seeking to protect the innocent.

In order to understand this recent influx of child immigrants, it is important to understand how we got here, how bad the situation is for these children, and what we are doing to address the issues.

How Did We Get Here?

In 2008, President Bush signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act into law. This Act set guidelines on how unaccompanied minors arriving from non-border countries should be handled. Minors qualifying under the Act are entitled to have a hearing … Read More »


Military Deployment and Child Custody in Virginia

Posted on July 10th, 2014, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Custody, Family Law, Military Divorce. No Comments

“Im Deploying! How does that affect my custodial or visitation rights to my child?”

Deploying is a unique and difficult fact of life for most every military family. For those parents involved in a custody or visitation dispute, deployment can be an even more stressful event, as the deploying parent must also be concerned with arrangements for his or her child during the required absence.

Given that Virginia has the second largest military population in the United States, it is not surprising that in 2008 the Virginia legislature addressed the concerns of deploying parents with a statutory scheme designed to protect the custodial or visitation rights of our men and women in uniform.

The Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act, incorporated into Virginia Code Sections 20-124.7 through 20-124.10, defines who is considered to be a deploying parent, including not only active duty but … Read More »


To Plea or Not to Plea?

Posted on July 9th, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

That Is the Question for Many Criminal Defendants

The world of criminal defense has been abuzz lately regarding a unique plea deal that was struck last month in Shenandoah County, Virginia. In that case, the defendant, Jessie Herald, was facing five charges: felony child endangerment, felony hit and run, misdemeanor failure to provide medical attention to an injured child, misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, and misdemeanor driving after forfeiture of his license. In exchange for dropping two misdemeanors, he agreed as part of his terms of probation to get a vasectomy. The defendant had fathered multiple children and the prosecutor deemed it would be in the Commonwealth’s best interests for him to have a vasectomy. The decision has been controversial among the legal community of where the line should be drawn in what is acceptable in a plea deal.

While most … Read More »


Supreme Court Requires Warrants for Cell Phone Searches

Posted on July 1st, 2014, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

In our highly politicized and pluralistic world, consensus often comes with a shock. Debates are argued not necessarily by the brightest advocates for a position, but by the loudest or most intense. Legislation always feels like it is passed by party line. And popular convention extends the same to the United States Supreme Court: that there are four justices who all agree one way, four who agree inapposite, and one deciding swing vote every time. If you just observe superficially, every Supreme Court decision is a 5-4 affair. So when the justices return a 9-0 decision, it comes as a shock to many. And the same superficial observation has us give a 9-0 ruling more weight than a 5-4 decision. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued one of these seemingly rare unanimous decisions, answering a question of utmost importance: whether … Read More »


How to Protect Yourself as the Breadwinning Spouse

Posted on June 26th, 2014, by Julia Jones in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Divorce can be financially difficult for both parties, particularly in today’s economy. If you are the breadwinning spouse, you may face special difficulties—which include but are not limited to the following:

Your spouse doesn’t (or refuses to) work, so you may be looking at higher amounts of spousal support and child support.
Your name is tied to all of the marital debts because your spouse doesn’t have good credit.
You’re stuck paying everything: a mortgage, two car payments, and massive credit card debt that is more than you can afford.
Your spouse recklessly increases your debt, and only you are held responsible.
Your spouse has requested pendente lite support and attorney’s fees to help him or her carry on the divorce lawsuit.

Unfortunately, these are examples of some of the pitfalls that come with being the breadwinning spouse. Here are four tips to help protect yourself before, during … Read More »




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