Category:Family Law


What Happens to Frozen Embryos in Virginia Divorce

Posted on June 23rd, 2016, by Laila Raheen in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Advancements in technology have allowed couples to have a child even if they are not able to conceive on their own. One such technology is in vitro fertilization (“IVF”). IVF is the process of extracting eggs from a woman’s body, combining them with sperm in a laboratory and then implanting them in the woman’s uterus. The excess embryos can be frozen and stored for later use. When the couple is ready to have a child, a frozen embryo can then be thawed and implanted in the uterus. This process is known as cryopreservation.

Couples who are undergoing a divorce may find themselves in a contentious legal battle over the disposition of their frozen embryos. For example, if one of the parties fears not being able to have a biological child due to age or other physiological reasons, then that party may want to … Read More »


Seven Tips for Divorcing a Narcissist

Posted on June 7th, 2016, by David Marquardt in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

As a divorce attorney, I often hear the word “narcissist,” typically used by my client to describe his or her spouse, or vice versa. Usually the condemned partner is someone who is overly conceited or excessively self-centered, and not necessarily a narcissist. Although being particularly self-absorbed can come off as supercilious and arrogant, narcissism is much more than that. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a real psychological disorder exemplified by a need for admiration and lack of empathy for others. Generally, narcissists genuinely believe the world revolves around them.

It is no secret that going through a divorce is extraordinarily difficult. However, divorcing a narcissist increases the conflict and turmoil tenfold. While there is nothing one can do to fully eliminate the effect of a narcissist on the divorce process, there are certain actions that can help minimize the emotional toll on … Read More »


Allegations of Abuse or Neglect in Virginia Custody Cases

Posted on May 31st, 2016, by Sarah Collins in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

When making an award of custody or visitation, Virginia courts look at the factors listed in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3 to determine the best interests of the child. One of these factors is whether there has been a history of violence or abusive behavior. This could be a history that has previously been documented by police reports, protective orders, or criminal convictions, but it could also present itself in the form of allegations made against one parent by the other parent during litigation of the custody case.

Allegations of abuse or neglect of a child made against a parent during custody litigation are sometimes referred to as the nuclear bomb of family law. Such allegations can drastically raise emotions and tensions in an already very difficult situation, and can swing the balance in a custody case from one parent to the … Read More »


“Gray Divorce” – Concerns for Divorcing Couples Over Fifty

Posted on May 24th, 2016, by Caitlin Higgins in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Due to modern medicine and a societal focus on healthier lifestyles, people are living longer than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy in the United States for men is now 76.4 years, and 81.2 years for women. It makes sense then that Americans over the age of fifty are headed toward divorce at an unprecedented rate. Sociologists at Bowling Green State University found that one-quarter of all divorces in America involve spouses over the age of fifty—the “gray divorce”—a rate which has doubled since 1990. One in ten divorces now are between spouses over the age of sixty-five.

In addition to the fact that people are simply living longer, we can speculate on other reasons why individuals over the age of fifty are seeking divorces at such … Read More »


Pendente Lite Orders in Virginia Divorce

Posted on May 5th, 2016, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Divorce can be a lengthy process in Virginia. In no-fault cases, Virginia law requires parties to be separated for at least twelve months, or for at least six months with a separation agreement and no minor children, prior to even filing for divorce. And contested or fault-based divorces can take much longer than no-fault cases—sometimes dragging on for years, depending on the jurisdiction and issues involved. However, in many cases the parties have very real needs that must be addressed prior to the final hearing in their divorce. Thankfully, Virginia law allows courts to enter orders granting “pendente lite” (pending final resolution) relief to address those needs.

Virginia law grants the court the authority to issue pendente lite orders in any divorce case. Either or both parties may file a motion for pendente lite relief, either when the case is initially filed or at any time … Read More »


Treatment of College Savings Accounts in Virginia Divorce

Posted on May 3rd, 2016, by Jonathan McHugh in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

With the rising costs of college education, many families are establishing college savings accounts for their children. While this is certainly a good and well-thought out plan for the future, it is unlikely that parents ever consider this question: What happens to the college savings accounts upon a divorce?

College savings accounts, including Virginia 529 plans, are usually titled in names of one or both parents, who are technically the “owner” or “owners” of such accounts. The child is then listed as the beneficiary on the account. Depending on the type of account and the plan’s rules and regulations, a child will have a certain number of years to use money from the college savings account for their educational pursuits.

In a Virginia divorce which involves the division of assets and liabilities, Virginia Code Section 20-107.3 mandates that the court must classify … Read More »


Virginia Supreme Court Rules in Same-Sex Cohabitation Case

Posted on April 28th, 2016, by James Livesay in Family Law. No Comments

Livesay & Myers, P.C. family law attorney Anneshia Miller Grant achieved a major victory today, in a case she fought on behalf of her client all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.

In the case, Luttrell v. Cucco, the Supreme Court answered the question, can same-sex couples “cohabit in a relationship analogous to a marriage” for purposes of termination of spousal support under Virginia Code § 20-109(A)?

Mr. Luttrell had been paying spousal support to Ms. Cucco since their divorce in 2008. In 2014, Mr. Luttrell moved the Fairfax County Circuit Court to terminate his support obligation on the ground that Ms. Cucco was engaged to be married and had been cohabiting continuously for over one year with her same-sex partner. The court denied the motion, ruling that only opposite-sex couples could cohabit for purposes of termination of support under Code § 20-109(A). The Virginia … Read More »


Child Support and the Teenage Father

Posted on April 21st, 2016, by Carolyn Eaton in Family Law. No Comments

When most people hear the phrase “teen pregnancy,” they think only of the teenage mothers. But, there are also teenage fathers. Under the law in Virginia, a teenage boy can be determined by the court to be the father of a child, and can be ordered to pay child support for that baby. In proceedings to establish paternity, establish a child support obligation or enforce a child support obligation, teenage boys cannot escape the court’s ruling because of their age.

Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 20-49.6, a teenage boy between 14 and 18 years of age can be determined by the court to be the father of a child and ordered by the court to pay child support for that child as if he were an adult, if (1) the teenage boy is represented by a guardian ad litem, and (2) the teenage boy has … Read More »


Admissibility of Recorded Telephone Conversations in Virginia

Posted on April 13th, 2016, by Caitlyn Stubbs in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Parties facing a divorce or other family law litigation in Virginia often ask the question: would it help their case to record telephone conversations with the opposing party? The answer to this question may surprise you.

The Virginia Code sets out a surprising barrier for the use of recorded telephone conversations. Virginia Code Section 8.01-420.2 sets a general bar to the admissibility of recorded phone calls in civil court proceedings, unless all parties are aware that the conversation is being recorded. Unlike voicemails and recorded physical interactions, a telephone conversation would provide the opportunity to record without all parties’ awareness that the recording was being made. In a voicemail, the party intends that the message will be recorded, and pulling out your phone and placing it on the table is a tipoff that you may be recording an in-person interaction.

For telephone conversations, however, Section 8.01-420.2 … Read More »


Annulment vs. Divorce in Virginia

Posted on April 6th, 2016, by Amanda Stone Swart in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Many times when it becomes obvious that a marriage is heading towards failure, the question arises whether it would be best to seek an annulment or a divorce. To answer that question, one must first understand how annulment differs from divorce, and the different remedies a court may award upon a divorce vs. upon an annulment.

Many people confuse the legal annulment with a religious annulment. A legal annulment is a determination by the court that the marriage never existed. It can only be granted in a limited number of circumstances that are very rare.

A very small number of marriages may be annulled because they were void ab initio—meaning they were never valid marriages. Those marriages include bigamous and polygamous marriages, incestuous marriages, and underage marriages. See Virginia Code Section 20-38.1. These “void” marriages are deemed to have never legally existed, … Read More »


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