The Livesay & Myers Blog


Guidance For Immigrants Filing Taxes

Posted on February 24th, 2014, by Susannah Nichols in Immigration Law. No Comments

Tax season can be a stressful time for anyone; for immigrants the process of filing taxes can often become overwhelming. Failure to properly file their U.S. taxes may negatively affect a non-citizen’s own immigration situation or the chances for a family immigration petition in the future. I too often discover clients either in immigration proceedings or who are petitioning for a green card for their spouse, who have been improperly filing taxes for years. Having to go back and amend tax returns from past years is a time-consuming and costly process, which can be avoided by the immigrant’s properly filing their taxes in the first place. To do so, immigrants must answer a few questions up front:

Are You a Resident or Non-Resident For Tax Purposes?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must first determine if you are considered a “resident” or “non- resident” alien … Read More »


Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Posted on February 15th, 2014, by Ariel Baniowski in Family Law. No Comments

As you may have already heard, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that Virginia’s voter-approved 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment (aka the Virginia Marriage Amendment) is unconstitutional. The Amendment modified the Constitution of Virginia to (a) prevent the legal recognition of any union or partnership between same-sex couples, and (b) define “marriage” as exclusively between one man and one woman. In Bostic v. Rainey, decided on February 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen found the Virginia ban on same-sex marriage to violate the Due Process and Equal Protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The judge wrote in her opinion that “[g]overnment interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private … Read More »


Criminal Appeals to Circuit Courts in Virginia

Posted on February 14th, 2014, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

The right to appeal an unfavorable or unjust ruling in a criminal case is at the heart of our criminal justice system. In Virginia there are two categories of criminal appeal: appeals to circuit courts from lower courts, and appeals from circuit courts to higher courts. After briefly touching on the latter, this article will serve as a guide to the former: criminal appeals from district courts to circuit courts in Virginia.

Appeals from circuit courts in Virginia. Rulings by city or county circuit courts in Virginia may be appealed (depending on the area of law) to the Virginia Court of Appeals or Virginia Supreme Court. In those circumstances, the circuit court judgment remains in effect until and unless the appellate court decides to vacate or reverse the lower court’s decision. A relatively small percentage of criminal cases actually go through this level of appeal. … Read More »


How to Help Your Criminal Defense Attorney Defend You

Posted on February 3rd, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

We all understand that you hire a defense attorney to help you through a tough situation. It may therefore seem counter-intuitive that you have a duty to help your attorney. However, the direction your case will take is often determined by the steps you take on your own. Whether it is what occurs at arrest or in preparing your case, there is a lot you can do to positively (or negatively) influence your chances of success. Here are the best ways to help us defend you in court:

Don’t Admit Anything to the Police and Don’t Consent to a Search

This should be the cardinal rule of interaction with the police—do not admit to anything illegal and do not consent to a search. It always amazes me the number of cases where there is a confession to a crime or someone consented to a search when they … Read More »


Five Things to Expect From Your Criminal Attorney

Posted on January 29th, 2014, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

Attorney websites and blogs often provide instruction to you, the potential client, on what you need to do: what you need to expect in a particular jurisdiction or from a particular charge, how you need to dress, how you need to find a lawyer, and on and on. So this article, like the dreaded “selfie,” turns the focus away from you and onto us—the legal professionals. If you have hired an attorney to defend you against criminal or traffic charges, you should hold them to certain standards with regard to how they handle your case. Here are five things you should expect from your criminal attorney:

Responsiveness. You shouldn’t know more about the process in your case than your attorney. A criminal attorney who is annoyed that their client has questions has probably lost sight of this simple fact. If you have a question, you … Read More »


Justin Bieber Faces Deportation

Posted on January 29th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

Reports of pop star Justin Bieber’s recent run-ins with the law have dominated the news. Certainly, many young stars in the throes of fame find themselves in similar situations. What adds an extra wrinkle to Bieber’s situation, however, is the fact that, as a Canadian citizen, criminal activity can jeopardize his U.S. immigration status.

Bieber currently holds an O-1 visa. O-1 visas are given to those individuals who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, education, athletics, or the arts. Such ability in the arts means that the individual is renowned, leading, or well-known in their field of creative endeavor. Examples of O-1 visa holders include: NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, Israeli concert pianist Inon Barnatan, and Canadian author Jennifer Gould Keil. The O-1 visa holder is given an initial stay of up to three years, followed by extensions for one-year increments.

Bieber now faces a litany of criminal charges, including: … Read More »


Guide to the Criminal Process in Virginia

Posted on January 24th, 2014, by James Livesay in Criminal Defense. No Comments

Being charged with a crime is, for almost anyone, a nerve-racking experience. If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a crime in Virginia, the first thing you will want do do is refuse to speak to the authorities without an attorney present. Then of course you will want to find an attorney as soon as possible. Finally, you should do a little research both as to the particulars of the criminal charges you are facing, and as to the overall criminal process in Virginia.

To help you on that last point, h​ere is a guide through the five steps of the ​judicial process in Virginia​, and what to expect from a good criminal defense attorney throughout each stage:

Step 1: Initial Investigation. The best criminal lawyers usually advise clients to remain silent when questioned by law … Read More »


Look Out For These Traits of Lazy or Dishonest Family Lawyers

Posted on January 23rd, 2014, by Matthew Smith in Divorce, Family Law. 1 Comment

In the course of almost a decade practicing family law in Virginia, I’ve been able to identify some of the best and worst practices in the field. Four times out of five, if I’m familiar with opposing counsel in a case of mine, I’ll know how the case will proceed. After a while you can identify the attorneys who have their clients’ best interests constantly in mind, and the ones who are lazy or (far worse) less than honest and have the tendency to “milk” a case when simple solutions exist. Luckily these attorneys make up only a narrow sliver of our practice area, but their behavior can give us all a bad name.

Attorneys matter, and who you and your spouse select will have an enormous impact on the way your divorce plays out, for better or worse. Here are … Read More »


How to Benefit Your Case and Keep Costs Down in Discovery

Posted on January 22nd, 2014, by Stephanie Sauer in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

When going through a contested divorce or custody case many clients struggle with the concept of discovery, why it is necessary, and how it can benefit their case. Discovery is the legal process in which a party may ask questions of the other party and request documents relevant to the case. Discovery is an integral part of the litigation process because it provides notice to each side of the specific issues in contest, and evidence to help build their case. Many clients find that discovery can be their greatest asset or their worst enemy. For those clients that struggle with the discovery process it is generally because they are unprepared. Here are five tips for making the discovery process work for you:

Prepare before or at the beginning of the case. Discovery is typically issued at the onset of the case. Once … Read More »


Virginia Legislature Considers Decriminalizing Adultery

Posted on January 20th, 2014, by Stephanie Sauer in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Delegate Scott A. Surovell, a Fairfax family law attorney, has introduced House Bill 940 (HB 940) to decriminalize adultery in Virginia. Virginia Code Section 18.2-365 defines adultery as the act of a married person voluntarily engaging in sexual intercourse with any person not his or her spouse. Currently, adultery is punishable in Virginia as a Class 4 misdemeanor—which has serious repercussions for parties seeking to divorce their spouse based on the ground of adultery.

Because adultery is a crime in Virginia, a spouse accused of adultery in a divorce can assert their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, and refuse to answer questions about the adulterous behavior. This can make proving adultery in Virginia divorce cases extremely challenging. In effect, the criminal law against adultery serves to shield those accused of adultery in their divorce cases.

If HB 940 passes and becomes law, the penalty for committing adultery would … Read More »




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