The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog


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 Livesay & Myers, P.C. 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 »


Immigration Updates From the 2015 AILA National Conference

Posted on June 30th, 2015, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

Recently, the immigration team at Livesay & Myers, P.C. attended the AILA Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) is the largest professional organization for immigration attorneys worldwide. The four-day conference was filled with educational seminars and the latest updates in immigration law. Here are some noteworthy highlights from the conference:

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) confirmed that 18 new judges were hired in June to fill an urgent need in immigration courts nationwide. Unfortunately, no new judges will be placed in our local courts in Arlington, Virginia or Baltimore, Maryland. In Arlington, hearings for new, non-detained immigrants continue to be scheduled for 2019.
After a several-week technological outage for many embassies and consulates worldwide, the Department of State reported that all visa-issuing posts are back online. To help clear a backlog, some 410,000 nonimmigrant … Read More »


New Virginia Criminal Laws Taking Effect July 1, 2015

Posted on June 29th, 2015, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Criminal Defense. No Comments

Every year on July 1, a whole new set of laws goes into effect in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is a result of the uniqueness of our General Assembly, which is a part-time legislature that regularly meets for only either 45 or 60 days every winter. A flurry of activity and news occurs during those times, but any press is normally focused on such things as selecting a new state song (we actually have three now!). In reality, the General Assembly considers many bills that will have implications across Virginia for those that are facing, or may face, criminal charges. These laws usually do one of three things: (1) create new crimes, regulations or defenses, (2) close loopholes, or (3) streamline the judicial process. In addition to a new law on DNA sampling, here are some noteworthy new criminal … Read More »


Child Support Retroactivity in Virginia

Posted on June 25th, 2015, by Danielle Snead in Family Law. No Comments

Most parents facing a separation or divorce understand the importance of determining a child support amount. In Virginia, child support is determined by the application of child support guidelines which consist of a formula that factors in (a) the gross incomes of both parents, (b) any support paid by either parent for children from another marriage or relationship, (c) day care expenses and (d) the cost of health insurance for the child.

The question of how much child support will be paid is clearly important—but what about the question of when it begins? And specifically, when the parties have gone a period of time without a child support order or written agreement in place, is support owed retroactively for that period?

Under Virginia Code §20-108.1, courts in Virginia are to determine child support “retroactively for the period measured from the date that the proceeding was … Read More »


DNA Sampling in Virginia: Does New Law Go Too Far?

Posted on June 15th, 2015, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

A new law goes into effect in Virginia on July 1, 2015, adding a number of misdemeanors to the list of convictions for which the Commonwealth will take the defendant’s DNA sample and put it into a database. But does this change to the Virginia Code go too far?

Background: the Constitution

The tension between privacy and law enforcement has existed since our nation’s founding. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prevents the government from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. In a nutshell, this means that the government through its law enforcement agencies cannot simply look into our homes or persons and take whatever it wants in a criminal investigation. There are rules and requirements, such as obtaining a warrant on probable cause before (a) searching a place or (b) seizing a person or his things.

The Fourth Amendment begins with “[t]he right of … Read More »


Can Other Countries Be Home States Under the UCCJEA?

Posted on June 12th, 2015, by Caitlyn Stubbs in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

In custody cases where a child has lived in multiple states, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) the initial custody determination will generally be made in the child’s “home state.” If the child has been absent from their home state, the court will look to see what state the child lived in during the prior six months or during the six months immediately preceding the filing for custody.

But what happens when the child has not lived in the United States in the past six months?

Take the hypothetical case of John & Suzy Doe for example. John and Suzy have an 8-year-old son named Joe. Joe was born in England, but moved to Virginia with his parents when he was two years old. After six years in Virginia, Suzy takes Joe and heads back to England. Nine months later, Suzy files for … Read More »


Exclusive, Continuing Jurisdiction Under the UCCJEA

Posted on June 1st, 2015, by David Marquardt in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

The Washington, DC metropolitan area, and particularly Northern Virginia, has a highly transient demographic. Between the dense concentration of federal government jobs and the myriad military installations in and around the city, individuals and families are constantly moving in and out of the area. It comes as no surprise, then, that we often see parents who have children subject to a child custody and visitation order issued by a state other than Virginia. Many times, these parents want to modify the custodial arrangement set forth in their out-of-state order.

In Virginia, child custody and visitation orders are modifiable where (a) there has been a material change of circumstances and (b) the best interest of the child warrants a different custody arrangement. Upon filing a motion to modify a custody order in Virginia, however, it must first be determined which state or … Read More »


The Basics of Paternity in Virginia

Posted on May 28th, 2015, by Ariel Baniowski in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Paternity is a father’s assumption of legal rights and responsibilities to a child. An established legal father of a child has a duty and obligation to support that child, as well as the right to petition the court for custody or visitation of the child. Such rights and responsibilities do not apply and cannot be exercised unless and until paternity is established.

In addition to the emotional and quality of life benefits that building the father-child relationship can have for both parties, establishing paternity also entitles the child to other possible benefits, including the right to inherit, the right to share in social security, the right to collect disability and veteran’s benefits if applicable, and the right to receive insurance and medical health benefits. Establishment of paternity is also valuable to the child because knowing the mental and physical health history of … Read More »




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