The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog


Modification of Support Obligation Based on COVID-19 Layoff in Virginia

Posted on March 31st, 2020, by Andrew Tank in Family Law. No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Aside from the health of those afflicted, perhaps the greatest damage has been economic. Unemployment has skyrocketed, affecting even people who previously felt secure in their employment.

Losing a job for any reason is stressful. For those who have a child or spousal support obligation, there is an extra level of concern. The good news for those people is that, with some exceptions related to spousal support, the law does provide relief to those who qualify and know how to seek it.

First the exceptions. In Virginia, a spousal support obligation is not modifiable if:

It is pursuant to an agreement (as opposed to ordered by a judge) that was entered into prior to July 1, 2018, and the agreement does not state that spousal support is modifiable; or
It is pursuant to … Read More »


How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Virginia Custody and Visitation Order?

Posted on March 30th, 2020, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

On March 12, 2020, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In further response to the spread of the COVID-19, Virginia has implemented travel bans, limited public gatherings, closed schools for the remainder of the school year and implemented telework policies in an effort to keep as many Virginia residents in their homes as possible during this time.

On March 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order declaring a judicial emergency in Virginia and limiting the types of cases that would be heard by courts across the Commonwealth. This order put such limitations in place until April 26, 2020. One effect of the Supreme Court’s order is that Virginia courts are not hearing non-emergency matters at this time, including routine, non-emergency custody and visitation matters. … Read More »


How to Testify at Your Family Law Trial in Virginia

Posted on March 25th, 2020, by Jamel Rowe in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

For those facing a divorce, custody or support battle, one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of their case is the prospect of testifying at trial. Especially since for many people it is their first experience being in court.

You may be one of these anxious individuals. However, you should not allow trial scenes from Law & Order episodes to scare you, because there are a number of ways you can prepare for the uncertainty of trial.

First, you should familiarize yourself with the trial process and the courthouse. A trial usually proceeds as follows:

Opening statement of the Plaintiff.
Opening statement of the Defendant.
Plaintiff’s case-in-chief, during which they present evidence and witnesses through direct examination. The Defendant’s attorney can cross-examine these witnesses; however, their questions are limited to the scope of the direct examination. If direct examination addresses topic A only, the Defendant’s attorney … Read More »


Marriage Story: Four Lessons for Your Virginia Divorce

Posted on March 23rd, 2020, by Abby McNelis in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Marriage Story was released on Netflix in late 2019 to tremendous critical acclaim. The beautifully heartfelt film depicts the devastating unraveling of the marriage of two people, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Marriage Story artfully captures the emotional turmoil faced by many people after they make the decision to pursue a divorce.

If you are a Virginia resident facing a divorce, not everything you see in Marriage Story will apply to your own case. The film gets some details right, but other things that happen in the film are legally questionable, or at least would not apply to a case in Virginia. But, we can identify four lessons from Marriage Story that you can apply to your Virginia divorce.

Interstate Custody Jurisdiction

One legal detail that Marriage Story seems to get wrong relates to interstate custody jurisdiction. The child custody battle in … Read More »


Can Courts Award Joint Legal Custody When The Parties Have a No Contact Protective Order in Place?

Posted on March 4th, 2020, by Maria Zamayar in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

You’re in a messy relationship with the other parent of your child—so messy that one of you has secured a no contact protective order against the other. How does that protective order affect the type of custody the court will award in your custody case? It might seem natural to assume that the court would refrain from awarding joint legal custody at a final custody hearing when the parties have a no contact protective order in place. After all, how would parents share the decision-making responsibilities of their child when they are prohibited from directly communicating with each other?

In most custody cases, courts are inclined to award joint legal custody because Virginia courts are statutorily mandated to assure frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children. Pursuant … Read More »


The Trend Towards Court-Ordered No-Cost Mediation

Posted on February 29th, 2020, by Cambridge Baker in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Mediation has long been a popular alternative to drawn-out, costly and emotional contested litigation in Virginia family law cases. However, mediation has up until recently most often been an avenue that the parties themselves must proactively elect to participate in. This has generally required that (a) the attorneys involved in the case be proactive about discussing and promoting mediation with their clients, (b) both parties in the case be receptive to the discussion and open to a form of alternative dispute resolution that occurs outside a courtroom, and (c) a mutually agreed upon mediator be selected and a mediation date be set prior to the final trial date in the case.

Recently, however, some courts in Virginia have begun making mediation a mandatory part of the litigation process for some cases, with the goal that the parties will be able to … Read More »


Adultery: Continuous Act or Several Individual Acts?

Posted on February 17th, 2020, by Jennifer Huchler in Family Law. No Comments

Though most states today have declassified adultery as a crime, adultery continues to be a criminally punishable offense (class 4 misdemeanor) in Virginia. Because adultery is still a crime in Virginia, a spouse accused of adultery in a Virginia divorce case may invoke his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Which means that the opposing party’s divorce lawyer may not simply call the accused spouse to the witness stand and force them to answer questions pertaining to the alleged adultery.

However, there is a one-year statute of limitations on the crime of adultery in Virginia, which means that a person can no longer be punished for committing adultery one year after the last adulterous act. This means that, back to our divorce case, the opposing divorce lawyer can ask questions related to affairs where the last adulterous acts occurred more … Read More »


Modifying a Custody and Visitation Order in Virginia

Posted on February 12th, 2020, by Lindsay Connolly in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

You have a court order that defines your child custody and visitation arrangement with the other parent. That court order says that it is a “final” order. Can you modify your visitation or custody order if new circumstances arise?

The answer to that question is yes. Custody of minor children is always based on what is in the children’s best interests, and those interests may change over time. In Virginia, a court may alter a custody and visitation arrangement as the circumstances of the parents and the benefit of the children may require. Specifically, Virginia Code § 20-108 allows for modification of a custody or visitation order when (1) there has been a material change of circumstances and (2) it is in the best interest of the children to modify custody or visitation.

The material change in circumstances that is required for … Read More »


Livesay & Myers, P.C. Listed in 2020 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”

Posted on November 1st, 2019, by James Livesay in Uncategorized. No Comments

We are proud to announce that Livesay & Myers, P.C. appears in the 2020 Edition of the U.S. News & World Report listing of Best Law Firms, released on November 1, 2019!

The 2020 edition marks the tenth 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 2020 Edition of Best Law Firms are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal … Read More »


The Impact of SSI Benefits on Child Support in Virginia

Posted on September 26th, 2019, by Jamel Rowe in Family Law. No Comments

Some parents of special needs children receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to help towards the care of their son or daughter. A special needs child may qualify as disabled and receive benefits if they have a physical or mental impairment which causes severe functional limitations that could last for more than 12 months or could result in death.[1] There are a broad spectrum of qualifying children, including but not limited to youths diagnosed with severe developmental delays or Leukemia. Although these SSI benefits may appear to be a godsend at first, they could have a negative impact on child support.

To calculate child support in Virginia, the court must consider the gross income of both parties, the cost of the health insurance premium for the child, work-related childcare costs and the custodial schedule. These figures are inputted into the Virginia Child … Read More »




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