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 five offices.

Here are the most recent posts by this author:

Six Ways To Enforce A Child Support Order in Virginia

Posted on September 16th, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on Six Ways To Enforce A Child Support Order in Virginia

There are several ways to collect unpaid child support in Virginia. Payees of child support can take action either in the court in which the child support order was entered or by using the Department of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). Here are six ways to force a delinquent parent to pay their child support in Virginia:

Wage Withholding: If a party is in arrears for an amount equal to at least one month’s obligation, under Virginia Code Section 20-79.1 a court may order the payor’s employer to withhold income from their paycheck. The amount of the withholding can be the amount of any current child support due, in addition to a specific amount to be applied to arrears. To do this, a notice of arrears must be submitted to the Court.
Suspension of Driver’s, Professional or Recreational License: When a party has … 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 »

Cohabitation Agreements in Virginia

Posted on June 3rd, 2013, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on Cohabitation Agreements in Virginia

The end of any relationship can be a trying time for the parties involved, regardless of marital status. For married couples this difficult time is lessened with the aid of Virginia law and courts. Married couples in Virginia can use the judicial system to help them decide challenging questions such as how to divide their property and debts, to determine if spousal support will be paid and for how long, and to decide what should happen to the marital home. Married couples can resolve these issues at different times in their relationships—before the marriage, through a prenuptial agreement; during the marriage, with a postnuptial agreement; or after they separate, with a property settlement agreement. Alternatively, married couples can submit these questions to a judge for determination in a divorce proceeding.

Unfortunately, couples who are not legally married are not afforded these same … 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 »

Survivor Benefit Plan Coverage in Virginia Divorce

Posted on October 29th, 2012, by James Livesay in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on Survivor Benefit Plan Coverage in Virginia Divorce

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage is a benefit commonly awarded to former spouses in military divorce cases in Virginia, particularly where the spouse will be receiving a significant share of the servicemember’s military retired pay.

Survivor Benefit Plan – The Basics

What is SBP? SBP is an annuity plan that, after the death of a retired servicemember, pays a monthly sum to a beneficiary designated by the servicemember. SBP payments begin at the death of the retired servicemember, when the servicemember’s retired pay would normally cease. SBP coverage therefore permits a servicemember to continue to provide income to a named beneficiary upon the servicemember’s death. SBP coverage is analogous to life insurance in that it provides servicemembers security that their dependents will be cared for when they are gone.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) automatically deducts the monthly premiums for SBP coverage … Read More »

Residency Requirements For Virginia Divorce

Posted on October 15th, 2012, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Residency Requirements For Virginia Divorce

You and your spouse were married in Hawaii. You resided as a married couple in Virginia for many years. Discord arose and now you have been separated for over a year. One month ago, your soon-to-be ex moved to sunny Southern California, while you remained in Virginia. You are ready to move on and want to begin divorce proceedings, where do you file?

Determining where to file your divorce is a question of jurisdiction. A court must have jurisdiction over your case before it can grant your divorce, and each state has specific requirements for jurisdiction. In order to file in Virginia, at least one of the parties must meet the residency requirements of Virginia Code Section 20-97. That section states in part that “no suit for annulling a marriage or for divorce shall be maintainable, unless one of the parties … Read More »

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