Did you know that in surrogacy arrangements the birth mother of a child, not the donor mother, is legally the child’s mother in Virginia? Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 20-158, the parentage of a child conceived through assisted conception may not be what you thought.
Surrogacy cases usually involve the following parties:
Intended parents (who may also be known as the “donor parents”),
The husband of the surrogate mother (if married), and
Licensed physician and/or fertility clinic.
There are two types of surrogacy arrangements. In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate mother is inseminated with sperm from a male in the intended couple, or from a donor. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother is implanted with an embryo, which can either come from the intended parents or from a donor. The significant difference between these two arrangements is that in gestational surrogacy the surrogate mother has no … Read More »
In divorce cases, the marriage is officially and legally ended when the judge signs the order dissolving the legal bonds of matrimony. For a large number of people, however, a divorce does not mean the severing of all ties with their now ex-spouse. There are some things that will continue to bind many divorced couples together beyond their marriage vows. The immediate example that springs to mind is children. Issues of custody, visitation or child support can come up as often as the needs of a child may change. Eventually, however, children grow up—and though divorced parents will always be linked together through the children they share, there will no longer be the potential of ongoing litigation.
There is one issue, however, that can link former spouses together for the rest of their natural lives: spousal support.
In Virginia, spousal support may be … Read More »
Going through a divorce results in a whirlwind of emotions—everything from extreme sadness and disappointment to elation and acceptance. Regardless of how the marriage ended, or whether the divorce is amicable or contested, people are often unprepared for the immense changes that come from a separation and divorce.
That being said, there are certain steps that you can take to better equip yourself for dealing with the transition from marriage to separation and, ultimately, to divorce. Consider doing each of the following six things at the outset, before seeking a divorce from your spouse in Virginia:
Go to a marriage counselor. This is especially true if you have children with your spouse. There is a reason why you got married in the first place, and you owe it to yourself, your spouse and your kids to see if there is an option other … Read More »
Each year, the Virginia legislature considers numerous proposed updates to Virginia family law. These updates range from universally significant changes such as last year’s revised child support guidelines (updated for the first time in nearly thirty years), to the loosened notice requirements for finalizing uncontested divorces, to addressing the perhaps mundane question of whether or not courts should consolidate juvenile cases under single case numbers.
That trend has continued into 2015, with the legislature passing—and Governor McAuliffe signing into law— updated provisions concerning the amount of health insurance cost to be included in calculating child support in Virginia.
Virginia’s child support guidelines provide courts a method for determining child support based on each parent’s income, the support by either parent of “other children” (such as by prior marriages), day care expenses and health care costs. Under the new law, effective July 1, 2015, for purposes of child support the health … Read More »
What happens to a Virginia child support obligation if the parent who was ordered to pay support starts receiving disability payments instead of a pay check? Can those disability benefits be seized through an income withholding order to pay child support?
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI). SSI is a Social Security benefit that is based on financial need and does not derive from the recipient’s earnings record. Monthly payments are made to individuals who are 65 years or older, blind or disabled, earn little to no income and have few, if any, resources. A non-custodial parent who receives this type of disability benefit cannot have those monthly payments taken through income withholding. Likewise, any lump sum payment the non-custodial parent receives for past due benefits cannot be taken to satisfy child support arrears.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a … Read More »
As we celebrate graduation season and waves of 18-year-olds going off to college or joining the military, we also think about the freedom that comes along with officially being an adult. For parents, you have maintained custody and control over your child their entire lives, and they are now free to make their own decisions.
However, there are certain instances where a teenager may seek to emancipate themselves from parental control prior to age 18. This is called the emancipation of minors, and is governed in Virginia by Virginia Code Section 16.1-331, et seq.
After a hearing, a Virginia court may declare a minor over the age of 16 as emancipated if the court finds the following:
That the minor has entered into a valid marriage;
That the minor is on active duty with any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces;
That the minor willingly … Read More »
Most parents facing a separation or divorce understand the importance of determining a child support amount. In Virginia, child support is determined by the application of child support guidelines which consist of a formula that factors in (a) the gross incomes of both parents, (b) any support paid by either parent for children from another marriage or relationship, (c) day care expenses and (d) the cost of health insurance for the child.
The question of how much child support will be paid is clearly important—but what about the question of when it begins? And specifically, when the parties have gone a period of time without a child support order or written agreement in place, is support owed retroactively for that period?
Under Virginia Code §20-108.1, courts in Virginia are to determine child support “retroactively for the period measured from the date that the proceeding was … Read More »
In custody cases where a child has lived in multiple states, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) the initial custody determination will generally be made in the child’s “home state.” If the child has been absent from their home state, the court will look to see what state the child lived in during the prior six months or during the six months immediately preceding the filing for custody.
But what happens when the child has not lived in the United States in the past six months?
Take the hypothetical case of John & Suzy Doe for example. John and Suzy have an 8-year-old son named Joe. Joe was born in England, but moved to Virginia with his parents when he was two years old. After six years in Virginia, Suzy takes Joe and heads back to England. Nine months later, Suzy files for … Read More »
The Washington, DC metropolitan area, and particularly Northern Virginia, has a highly transient demographic. Between the dense concentration of federal government jobs and the myriad military installations in and around the city, individuals and families are constantly moving in and out of the area. It comes as no surprise, then, that we often see parents who have children subject to a child custody and visitation order issued by a state other than Virginia. Many times, these parents want to modify the custodial arrangement set forth in their out-of-state order.
In Virginia, child custody and visitation orders are modifiable where (a) there has been a material change of circumstances and (b) the best interest of the child warrants a different custody arrangement. Upon filing a motion to modify a custody order in Virginia, however, it must first be determined which state or … Read More »
Concerns Over Shariah Law Threaten International Child Support Treaty
A few years ago, we covered federal action on the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Specifically, I wrote about how the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed key language implementing the Hague Convention in the International Child Support Recovery Act of 2012. While that bill did not ultimately become law, a new issue has recently arisen that jeopardizes U.S. participation in the Hague Convention itself.
As the 2015 session of the Idaho legislature approached closing, the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee of the Idaho House of Representatives voted to kill an update to Idaho’s version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The update would have brought child support enforcement methods in Idaho into alignment with the terms … Read More »