About Laila Raheen

Laila Raheen is a senior associate attorney in the Manassas and Fairfax offices of Livesay & Myers, P.C. She practices exclusively family law, representing clients clients in separation, divorce, custody, visitation and support cases in Prince William County, Fairfax County and across Northern Virginia.

Here are the most recent posts by this author:


Rental Income and Child Support in Virginia

Posted on May 8th, 2017, by Laila Raheen in Family Law. Comments Off on Rental Income and Child Support in Virginia

For purposes of calculating child support, the Virginia Child Support Guidelines take into account each parent’s gross income. Virginia Code § 20-108.2(C) defines “gross income” as “income from all sources,” including but not limited to:

income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits except as listed below, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, veterans’ benefits, spousal support, rental income, gifts, prizes or awards.

§ 20-108.2(C) further provides that “[g]ross income shall be subject to deduction of reasonable business expenses for persons with income from self-employment, a partnership, or a closely held business.”

Pursuant to this code section, Virginia courts have consistently deducted expenses associated with rental properties from the rental income on those properties in calculating gross income. Some of the expenses commonly deducted include: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, … Read More »


Who Gets the Engagement Ring After a Breakup in Virginia?

Posted on February 13th, 2017, by Laila Raheen in Family Law. Comments Off on Who Gets the Engagement Ring After a Breakup in Virginia?

For years, Virginia circuit courts were split on the question of who gets the engagement ring after a breakup in Virginia. Some courts held that the engagement ring could not be recovered because such claims are barred under Virginia Code § 8.01-220. Known as the “heart balm” statute, that code section bars civil actions for breach of promise to marry (along with civil actions for alienation of affection, criminal conversation and seduction). However, other courts held that the engagement ring could be recovered because the party seeking to recover the ring is not seeking damages due to a broken promise to marry, but rather is asking for the return of a conditional gift, the condition being the marriage. Therefore, these courts held, when the engagement breaks off, the condition is not satisfied and thus the gift (the ring) should be returned.

The Virginia Supreme … Read More »


Child Support for Children With a Disability In Virginia

Posted on October 27th, 2016, by Laila Raheen in Family Law. Comments Off on Child Support for Children With a Disability In Virginia

For single parents of children with a disability or special needs, navigating the issue of child support can be a confusing and anxiety-ridden process. These parents may require more child support than is called for by the statewide guidelines in Virginia, and may require child support well past the time child support usually ends. A proper understanding of several points of Virginia law can greatly assist these parents in meeting the special needs of their children.

Deviation From Guidelines

The starting point for determining child support in all Virginia cases is Virginia Code § 20-108.2, which sets forth statewide child support guidelines. The guidelines provide a child support amount based on the incomes of the parties and any costs incurred for health care coverage and work-related child care. While such a straightforward formula may be appropriate under ordinary circumstances, custodial parents of children with a disability … Read More »


What Happens to Frozen Embryos in Virginia Divorce

Posted on June 23rd, 2016, by Laila Raheen in Custody, Family Law. Comments Off on What Happens to Frozen Embryos in Virginia Divorce

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 »


Protective Order Defense: Understanding the Allegations

Posted on March 4th, 2016, by Laila Raheen in Family Law. Comments Off on Protective Order Defense: Understanding the Allegations

On occasion, a spouse in Virginia may find themselves defending against a petition for a protective order on the basis of family abuse without having complete knowledge or understanding of the allegations against them. This places that spouse at a tremendous disadvantage. However, the defending party can take certain steps in advance to determine the allegations against them so as to mount an effective defense.

Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 16.1-253.1, upon filing of a petition alleging that the petitioner is or has been, within a reasonable period of time, subjected to family abuse, the court may issue a preliminary protective order against an allegedly abusing person in order to protect the health and safety of the petitioner or any family or household member of the petitioner. Section 16.1-253.1 gives judges the authority to issue a preliminary protective order in an … Read More »


Spousal Support Reduction Based on a Drop in Payor’s Income

Posted on October 9th, 2015, by Laila Raheen in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Spousal Support Reduction Based on a Drop in Payor’s Income

In Virginia, a drop in the payor spouse’s income, even if significant, may not guarantee a reduction in spousal support. As explained in Modification of Spousal Support in Virginia, under Virginia Code § 20-109 a court may decrease or terminate spousal support if there has been “a material change in circumstances” or “as the circumstances may make proper.” Although a court may find a material change in circumstances based on a complete loss of or a drop in the payor spouse’s income, the court may still refuse to reduce the amount of spousal support if it finds that the payor still has the ability to pay.

For instance, in Lamb v. Lamb, although the payor spouse’s income had decreased considerably, the Virginia Court of Appeals refused to reduce the amount of spousal support because the payor had the ability to pay. The Court found that … Read More »


Restoration of Parental Rights in Virginia

Posted on July 28th, 2015, by Laila Raheen in Custody, Family Law. Comments Off on Restoration of Parental Rights in Virginia

Can You File for Custody If Your Parental Rights Were Terminated in Virginia?

If your parental rights to a child have been terminated, under Virginia law you do not have standing to file a petition for custody of that child. Under Virginia Code Section 20-124.1, a petitioner seeking custody of a child must be a “person with a legitimate interest.” The statute specifically provides that a person with a legitimate interest does not include a party whose parental rights have been terminated by a court order, either voluntarily or involuntarily. However, in 2013, the General Assembly enacted Virginia Code Section 16.1-283.2 to provide a procedure for restoration of parental rights. Once a parent’s parental rights are restored pursuant to that code section, he or she can file a petition for custody.

Who Can Petition for Restoration of Parental Rights?

The statute distinguishes as … Read More »


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