About James Livesay

Attorney James Livesay is a Partner at Livesay & Myers. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1998, he began his legal career in the Navy JAG Corps, before entering private practice as a Virginia family lawyer in 2001. Along with partner Kevin Myers, Mr. Livesay founded Livesay & Myers in 2003. Today he advises the attorneys in each of the firm’s four offices.

Here are the most recent posts by this author:


Livesay & Myers, P.C. Listed in 2019 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”

Posted on November 1st, 2018, by James Livesay in Uncategorized. No Comments

We are proud to announce that Livesay & Myers, P.C. appears in the 2019 Edition of the U.S. News & World Report listing of Best Law Firms, released on November 1, 2018!

The 2019 Edition edition marks the ninth consecutive year that U.S. News & World Report, in combination with Best Lawyers, has ranked law firms nationwide. Livesay & Myers, P.C. made its debut on the list in the 2018 Edition.

Firms included in the 2019 Edition of Best Law Firms are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Livesay & Myers, P.C. is ranked for the second consecutive year as a Tier 2 firm in Family Law for the Washington, D.C. region. And, also for the second consecutive year, L&M … Read More »


The Hidden Danger of Virginia Spousal Support Agreements

Posted on April 7th, 2014, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on The Hidden Danger of Virginia Spousal Support Agreements

The Fairfax County Circuit Court recently issued an opinion that sheds light on an important aspect of Virginia divorce law: when divorcing parties include a provision for spousal support in a separation agreement that is incorporated into a divorce decree, that spousal support can only be modified later if the language of the agreement specifically allows for modification.

In Gordon v. Gordon, the parties divorced in 2003 after signing a separation agreement that provided for an award of spousal support (alimony). The Agreement made support non-modifiable, stating:

The husband agrees to pay to the wife, as and for her non-modifiable support and maintenance, the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per month, the initial payment to be made on the first day of the month following execution of this Agreement by both parties, and to continue in consecutive monthly installments on the first … Read More »


Domestic Violence and Gun Rights in Virginia

Posted on December 16th, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on Domestic Violence and Gun Rights in Virginia

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you should be aware that the issuance of a civil protective order order can, and very well may, affect your right to purchase, possess or transport a firearm in Virginia.

Federal Law Regarding Firearms and Domestic Violence

The best known restriction is found in federal law, which prohibits you from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving any firearm, if four conditions are met:

a protective order has been issued against you.
the protective order pertains to your “intimate partner” or the child of such “intimate partner.” The term “intimate partner” is defined to include a spouse, former spouse, person with whom you have a child or have cohabited, but not a girlfriend or boyfriend with whom you have not cohabited.
the protective order was issued after an evidentiary hearing, and you had notice and an opportunity to participate … Read More »


How Will That Down Payment Be Treated in Your Virginia Divorce?

Posted on September 30th, 2013, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on How Will That Down Payment Be Treated in Your Virginia Divorce?

It is a common story. You get married. You and your new husband or wife buy a beautiful new home. Everything is grand.

But then everything, gradually, over time, becomes… less grand, downright miserable, in fact. You separate. You contemplate divorce. You visit an attorney.

The question arises: what happens to the money that you (or your spouse) used to make the down payment? What happens to that money when you divorce?

There is a general rule that applies to this scenario under Virginia law. Just as background, real estate, when purchased during the marriage, is, by default under Virginia law, marital property regardless of how the real estate is titled. That is, the real estate can be titled in both of your names or solely or in the name of one party. It makes no difference to the question of whether or … Read More »


The Supreme Court Decides Who Gets The Money: The Widow Or The Ex-Wife?

Posted on June 5th, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on The Supreme Court Decides Who Gets The Money: The Widow Or The Ex-Wife?

On June 3rd, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed a provision of Virginia law and declared it invalid as applied, in the case of Hillman v. Maretta.

The case had to do with the distribution of life insurance proceeds for federal government employees enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program.

The facts were undisputed. A federal government employee by the name of Warren Hillman filed a Designation of Beneficiary with FEGLI listing his wife as the beneficiary. Mr. Hillman and his wife later divorced, and Mr. Hillman remarried, but his new wife was never designated as a FEGLI beneficiary. When Mr. Hillman died, Judy Maretta, the ex-wife, collected the FEGLI proceeds and was promptly sued in state court by Mr. Hillman’s widow Ms. Jacqueline Hillman.

At issue in the state court action and its appeals was the … Read More »


Separate Property in Virginia Divorce

Posted on March 14th, 2013, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. 2 comments

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court has the authority in your divorce suit to classify the property of the parties as separate, marital or hybrid, to distribute any jointly owned marital property between the parties, and to grant a monetary award to either party to ensure that the division of marital property is fair and equitable.

The law of equitable distribution is complex, and not every detail will be addressed in this blog post. The purpose of this post is instead to set forth a few simple principles to help you determine what property will be off-limits to your spouse in your divorce case. In other words, what do you get to keep? What is your sole, separate property not subject to equitable distribution?

Generally speaking, the following kinds of property will be classified as separate in Virginia:

Property … Read More »


Maximizing Your Divorce Consultation

Posted on March 5th, 2013, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Maximizing Your Divorce Consultation

The first step for most people in obtaining legal counsel for a divorce is to have an initial consultation with an attorney. Most consultations are scheduled for one-half to one full hour and most divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia do charge a consultation fee. The consultation is your opportunity to describe your situation to an attorney and receive an overview of the legal issues in your divorce, and perhaps a proposed course of action. It is also your opportunity to interview the lawyer in order to decide if they are the person to best represent you and your legal interests. Likewise, the consultation allows the attorney to determine if the case is one in which they can offer assistance.

To make the most of your divorce consultation, remember the following:

Seek assistance early. In many instances, there are deadlines for response … Read More »


Spousal Support In Prince William County

Posted on February 6th, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on Spousal Support In Prince William County

Suppose you live in Woodbridge or Manassas, and are a stay at home parent, a military spouse, or perhaps you work but just happen to make much less money than your spouse. Suddenly, your spouse declares that he or she wants a divorce. Your spouse wants to walk away from the marriage, the house, and the marital debts, to live on their own. But you cannot afford to pay the mortgage, your bills, or your debts all on your own. Once your spouse leaves, the creditors are at the door. The house is facing foreclosure. What do you do?

The short answer is: seek pendente lite (temporary) support from your spouse from the courts of Prince William County.

Please note: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park all share a combined court system, so whether you are a resident of Woodbridge, Lake … Read More »


Military Retirement And Disability Ratings Under Fifty Percent

Posted on January 22nd, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on Military Retirement And Disability Ratings Under Fifty Percent

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) recognizes the ability of state courts to distribute a portion of a servicemember’s military retirement to a former spouse. Notably, USFSPA specifies that the maximum amount that can be paid to a former spouse is fifty percent of a servicemember’s “disposable retired pay,” which does not include retired pay that he or she waives in order to receive VA disability pay. In Mansell v. Mansell, 490 U.S. 581 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed this rule and held that state courts may not divide upon divorce the military retired pay that a servicemember waives in order to receive disability pay.

The exclusion of retired pay waived for disability pay from division by state courts created perceptions of inequity in divorce cases, particularly where a servicemember had a high VA disability rating and could waive … Read More »


The Presumption Of Marital Debt In Virginia Divorce

Posted on November 7th, 2012, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on The Presumption Of Marital Debt In Virginia Divorce

If your spouse was a reckless spender during your marriage, and you thought divorce would finally end the financial pillage of your hard-earned dollars and the unspeakable terrorizing of your credit score—think again. Effective July 2011, all debt incurred by either party after the date of marriage and before the date of separation is presumed to be marital. But, you protest, she signed up for that Macy’s card alone and I haven’t seen one thing in the house from Macy’s! According to the amended Virginia Code Section 20-107.3(A), if you believe a debt incurred during the marriage is separate, you have to prove it, regardless of whose name was on the account.

It was not always this way. In April 2010, in the case of Gilliam v. McGrady, the Virginia Supreme Court stated that debts jointly incurred during the marriage are … Read More »


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