The Livesay & Myers Blog

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 »

Revenge Porn – Why It May Soon Be Illegal in Virginia

Posted on January 18th, 2014, by Stephanie Sauer in Criminal Defense, Family Law. No Comments

We’ve all heard or seen the stories: a scorned husband posts, tweets, uploads, or emails pictures of his wife engaged in sexual acts with someone other than him. Most people are so angry and hurt in the moment that they don’t think about the repercussions—to their significant other or themselves.

Various websites now allow people to post sexual photos of past lovers or spouses, often with explicit commentary. Some of them, such as, then demand fees to remove material that has been posted. The aftermath of the online harassment for the victim (which is usually, although not always, a woman) can be devastating.

Activists are lobbying state legislatures across the county to take action and prevent this behavior, which has become known as “revenge porn.”

Delegate Marcus Simon of Falls Church introduced House Bill 49 to address, at least in part, revenge porn in Virginia. … Read More »

New Guidance for Continuing Child Support for Disabled Children

Posted on January 17th, 2014, by Stephanie Sauer in Family Law. 1 Comment

On January 14, 2014, in the published opinion of Mayer v. Mayer, the Virginia Court of Appeals provided some much-needed guidance regarding continued child support for disabled children under Virginia law. Per Virginia Code § 20-124.2 a parent may petition and the court may grant the continuation of support for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (b) unable to live independently and support himself, and (c) resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support. However, there has been no bright-line rule as to whether the petition for continued support has to be filed before the child is emancipated in order for the court to consider it, or whether it can be filed after emancipation. The Court of Appeals in Mayer greatly clarified Virginia law in this area, by ruling that (1) … Read More »

Virginia Legislature Considers Streamlined Custody Procedures

Posted on January 16th, 2014, by Benjamin Carafiol in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Modification to Virginia Code Would Allow Consolidated Petitions

The issues of child custody and visitation are about as connected as any two issues can be. If you have any experience with Virginia custody cases, however, you know that it can feel like each part of your case has its own case number. And that’s because, by and large, it does! The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts here in Virginia will assign one identification number for a child custody case and give a second, different number to a visitation case… for the same child. If paternity is an issue that becomes a third case number. And if there are multiple children, well, each child gets his or her own set of unique case numbers for his or her custody matter. Parents in a custody dispute can find themselves with more than … Read More »

Dress the Part: What to Wear to Court

Posted on January 15th, 2014, by Eugene Oliver in Criminal Defense. No Comments

In planning for a court appearance in a criminal case, many defendants and witnesses overlook one crucial aspect of preparation—what to wear. Far too many people pay far too little attention to what they wear to court and if you are fortunate enough not to be appearing in a jail-issued jumpsuit, you definitely should follow established courtroom fashion etiquette.

By courtroom fashion etiquette, I am not intending this to be the type of fashion guide you would find in GQ or Vogue. Courtroom etiquette is simply based on tradition and some common sense. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression on the judge, prosecutor, and any jurors. Take advantage of that opportunity by following theses do’s and don’ts in dressing for court:

DO – Wear a suit if you have one, or at least a collared shirt or sweater … Read More »

Eight Tips For Your Case in Prince William General District Court

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

Are you facing traffic or misdemeanor charges in Prince William County General District Court? If so, this article is for you. I will provide some tips for handling your case, while hopefully helping you decide whether you should hire an attorney. (If you are charged with a felony, my advice is to have an attorney whether you retain one or accept a court-appointed attorney).

Tip #1: Be early and be attentive. The General District Court (“GDC”) in Prince William County hears matters at 9:00 a.m., and occasionally at 10:30 a.m. There are two entrances to the courthouse, but 99% of the people use the main entrance. This can cause a delay in appearing in court when you factor in time for finding parking. 9:00 a.m. is when the judge is scheduled to take the bench, not the time when you should arrive on the courthouse grounds. Once … Read More »

Home State Jurisdiction Under the UCCJEA

Posted on January 13th, 2014, by Danielle Snead in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Parties in custody or visitation disputes often find themselves in two separate counties or even states. This frequently leaves the parties to wonder which court has the authority to resolve the outstanding issues. If parties to a custody dispute, in which no previous order has been issued, file petitions in two different states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) will dictate which state has the authority to make the custody determination. The UCCJEA is an act that has been adopted by 49 out of the 50 states, including Virginia, as an attempt to provide consistency between the states and prevent parents from moving to a certain state for a preferential outcome.

Generally, under the UCCJEA, a state will have jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination if it was the home state of the child when the petition was filed … Read More »

Open House For Free Immigration Consults on January 30, 2014

Posted on January 7th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

The new year is a great opportunity to discuss your immigration questions with seasoned professionals. Immigration law is complex, changing in content from year to year and in practice from one federal agency to the next. From extreme hardship waivers to parole in place for military members, green cards for spouses to expedited citizenship, any case benefits from strong counsel.

On Thursday, January 30, 2014, 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 9:00–5:00 p.m. at our Fairfax office located at 3975 University Drive, Suite 325, Fairfax, VA 22030. 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 (703) 865-4746.

“Parole in Place” Immigration Benefit for Military Family Members

Posted on January 2nd, 2014, by Susannah Nichols in Immigration Law. No Comments

U.S. immigration law provides some advantages for those who have served in the U.S. military and their families. These special programs include expedited citizenship and now, “parole in place.” In November 2013, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) outlined how parole in place may help immediate family members of U.S. servicemembers gain permanent residency (“green cards”). This initiative is designed to assist military members whose immediate family members are present in the U.S. without having first been properly admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. This policy provides a way for these close family members to obtain a green card and eases the stress of the military family during the process.

Generally, immigrants who are in the United States must have been properly admitted by Customs and Border Patrol in order to be able to apply for a green card. If not … Read More »

The Hague Convention and International Child Abduction

Posted on December 30th, 2013, by Ariel Baniowski in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

When a child is removed from the United States by a parent, or retained in a country not the United States beyond an agreed-to period of time, and in violation of a parent’s custodial rights, the left-behind parent is left feeling hopeless. Why? Because each country is a sovereign nation with its own judicial system, laws, and law enforcement, and a custody order from a United States court may not be recognized by a court abroad. In this age of increased international tourism and travel, as well as the growth of ethnically diverse, multi-national families, the widespread adoption of a piece of uniform legislation that facilitates the return of abducted children is paramount. Thus, we have the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”).

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention, concluded in October 1980 and … Read More »

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