The Livesay & Myers, P.C. Blog

Passports for Minor Children Where Parents Share Joint Custody

Posted on November 15th, 2017, by Shirin Afsous in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

Passport applications for children under the age of 14 require the signatures of both parents. However, in situations where parents share joint legal custody, one parent may not consent and may actively seek to prevent the child’s removal from the United States. In these situations, state courts can authorize or restrict international travel, and may even order a parent to cooperate in securing a passport for their child.

In 2001, the U.S. government began requiring both parents’ signatures on a minor child’s passport application. This rule applies to new passports for children under the age of 14. Children over the age of 16 only require one parent’s signature. Prior to 2001, one parent was able to complete a child’s passport application without the other parent being in agreement or even knowing that an application was submitted. The new rule was created to … Read More »

Three Tips for Keeping Costs Down in Your Divorce

Posted on November 13th, 2017, by Melannie Dino in Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

Contested divorce cases can be extremely costly. The costs are often driven up by an aggressive opposing party or counsel, or through multiple actions being heard at the same time, sometimes even in different courts. If you find yourself in such a situation, you may not be able to completely prevent costs from rising. However, there are some steps you can take to help keep your attorney’s fees as low as possible. Here are three tips for keeping costs down in your divorce:

Consolidate communications with your attorney. Communication between you and your attorney will be essential in your divorce. However, in many cases a client will both telephone and email their attorney several times in the course of a day. Costs can add up quickly if you do not do your part to make each communication efficient and meaningful. If time permits, … Read More »

Do You Need an Attorney for a Separation Agreement?

Posted on November 8th, 2017, by Melannie Dino in Family Law. No Comments

In today’s world, there is a wealth of information available over the internet. People often turn to the web when trying to find a cheaper method for preparing a separation agreement or “property settlement agreement.” Agreement templates are available online for a nominal fee, which makes them very attractive to many divorcing couples.

However, each divorce case is unique. Forms found online are general and may not adequately address your needs. You may find that the form you chose to use is tailored for a different jurisdiction or even a different state than where you live. The form may not reference the correct applicable law, or may fail to include provisions that are vital in your case.

Some choose to use a friend or co-worker’s previously drafted agreement and try to make that agreement work for their own case. However, the facts … Read More »

National Interest Waiver Immigrant Visas

Posted on November 7th, 2017, by Aida Farahani in Immigration Law. No Comments

A National Interest Waiver immigrant visa is a special form of EB-2 (second preference) Employment-Based immigrant visa. EB-2 visas usually require a permanent job offer and labor certification. However, those requirements are waived for applicants who can show that their admission to permanent residency would be in the “national interest” of the United States. Approval of a “National Interest Waiver” (NIW) means that the petitioner does not need to rely on a particular employer to petition on their behalf—and can even be a self-employee.

In addition to meeting the “national interest” requirement, NIW petitioners have to meet the basic underlying requirements of any EB-2 visa: (a) an advanced degree or (b) exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. The applicant must show one or the other—there is no need to show both exceptional ability and an advanced degree. However, the NIW petitioner must … Read More »

Filing for a Protective Order for Your Child in Virginia

Posted on November 6th, 2017, by Benjamin Griffitts in Criminal Defense. No Comments

As a parent, it should go without saying that I have a basic duty to keep my children safe. Until recently, one tool that Virginia law provided parents to do this was the ability to file for a protective order for a child “pro se” (without an attorney). Under a recent court ruling in Fairfax County, that tool appears to no longer be available to many parents in Northern Virginia.

Virginia Code § 16.1-253 describes the procedure for obtaining a preliminary protective order on behalf of children. A protective order on behalf of a child directs an individual to restrain themselves having contact with the child because the child’s life or health is in danger. A preliminary protective order (“PPO”) is a temporary order that can be obtained “ex parte,” meaning by a presentation of allegations by one side to a judge or a court … Read More »

Separate Maintenance in Virginia

Posted on October 30th, 2017, by Melannie Dino in Family Law. No Comments

Virginia law allows a married person who is separated from their spouse to file a petition for “separate maintenance.” Separate maintenance is distinct from spousal support, and may be an attractive option to individuals who require support from their spouse but who do not want or cannot yet file for a divorce.

Separate maintenance initiated as a common-law remedy. It was developed to provide an equitable remedy when there was not an adequate legal remedy. Black’s Law dictionary defines separate maintenance as “money paid by one married person to another for support if they are no longer living together as husband and wife.” At common law in Virginia, there were essentially four elements to a case for separate maintenance: (1) the party from whom support is sought must be at fault, (2) the party seeking support and maintenance must be without fault, (3) … Read More »

Travel Ban and Refugee Admissions: the Latest Developments

Posted on October 27th, 2017, by Aida Farahani in Immigration Law. No Comments

Recent developments in U.S. immigration policy have left citizens of certain countries bewildered as to whether they can enter the United States. The turmoil began when the President issued an executive order one week after taking office, banning citizens of seven Muslin-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from coming to the U.S. for 90 days. That order also barred entry to all refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days, and placed an indefinite ban on refugees from war-torn Syria.

The executive order created chaos at airports around the United States, as even lawful permanent residents were refused admission into the U.S. or were prevented from boarding their flights. As thousands of people poured into the streets and airports protesting, some groups of immigration advocates took the administration to court. About a week later, a federal court in Boston … Read More »

The Cap Gap Extension for F-1 Students

Posted on October 11th, 2017, by Karen Williams in Immigration Law. No Comments

Every year, many foreign national F-1 students try to change from F-1 student status to H-1B status after they complete a program of study or period of optional practical training (OPT). Since OPT generally requires employment with a U.S. business or organization, this usually coincides with the filing period for H-1B status which occurs during the first week in April. H-1B status allows foreign nationals with a bachelor degree or higher to work in the U.S. in specialty occupations.

The number of people who can obtain the H-1B status is regulated by a numerical limit, or “cap,” each fiscal year—which runs from October 1st to September 30th. The cap is set at 65,000 plus an additional 20,000 reserved for those with master degrees or higher. Note not all H-1Bs are subject to the cap. Institutions of higher education or their related … Read More »

Enforcing Islamic Marital Agreements in Virginia Courts

Posted on September 22nd, 2017, by Shirin Afsous in Family Law. No Comments

Divorce proceedings are emotionally and financially taxing, but the complexity of the process increases significantly with added cultural issues surrounding the marriage. In Islamic cultures, the bride and groom enter into a marital agreement either on or shortly before the wedding date. This contract includes the promise of a gift from the groom to the bride, which is called mahr. The bride may claim the gift at the time of marriage, or at any later date of her choosing. The mahr is the wife’s separate property and the husband has no legal claim to it. Different cultures prescribe various forms of mahr, but generally the contract includes a future promise, at an unknown date, of gold or money. It is pertinent to note that mahr is not a price that the groom pays for the bride, but rather, a gift from the husband … Read More »

Co-Parenting and Virginia Custody Cases

Posted on September 19th, 2017, by Sarah Patras in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

If you are facing a custody or visitation case in Virginia, it is especially important that you maintain and strengthen your co-parenting skills. Doing so will benefit your children, and can only help you in court.

As a parent, it is human nature to put your children’s needs first in every part of life. In Virginia, courts adopt this same view when making determinations regarding child custody and visitation. Virginia courts are statutorily required to take each of ten “best interest factors” into consideration before making a ruling. Although all the factors are important, two factors may have swaying power when the court is faced with two genuinely good parents:

“[t]he propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;” … Read More »

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