Has your relationship recently ended or are you divorced with children? Are you dating and concerned about the introduction of your new loved one to your kids? Perhaps your estranged spouse or ex-spouse objects to the introduction and uses your newfound relationship to drag you back into a contentious court proceeding. Will a court prevent the introduction from occurring or minimize contact? Could you lose custody of your children because of the introduction? It all depends on the circumstances.
The introduction of a new partner to kids is absolutely relevant to custody and visitation determinations in Virginia courts. Custody and visitation decisions must be made with the children’s best interests in mind, pursuant to Virginia Code § 20-124.3. No two cases are exactly the same when it pertains to the introduction of a new partner to a child. There are a plethora … Read More »
This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
In these challenging times, many people reach a point of no return in their marital relationship. Perhaps a spouse has been unfaithful or abusive, or maybe two people have simply drifted apart over time. Whatever the reason, you’ve made the decision that you need to turn the page and move on with your life.
One of the first steps in the divorce process is the establishment of a date of separation. But why is that important? And how can you ensure that you’ve done it correctly?
A separation date may be crucial to your divorce case for a number of reasons. First, if you don’t have a fault basis for your complaint (adultery, cruelty, desertion, constructive desertion, etc.), then your separation date will determine when you can file for divorce. In Virginia, you must … Read More »
The Virginia General Assembly has made a significant change to Virginia Code § 20-106 concerning the requirements for a no-fault divorce. Effective July 1, 2021, Virginia law will no longer require a corroborating witness for a divorce based on no-fault grounds. The new law makes it significantly easier to obtain a no-fault divorce in Virginia.
In Virginia, there are two ways to obtain a divorce: fault grounds or no-fault grounds. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. The fault grounds for divorce in Virginia are adultery, cruelty, desertion, and felony conviction and confinement in excess of one year. To qualify for a no-fault divorce in Virginia, the parties must have been separated for at least one year if there are minor children. If there are no minor children, the parties only need to be separated for six months, with a signed … Read More »
The Virginia legislature has made a significant change to Virginia Code § 20-108.1 concerning child support and when the court may find a party to an action is either voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. The change also affects what constitutes a material change in circumstances warranting a modification of a party’s child support obligation. The new law will protect an incarcerated party from a ruling that he or she is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed as a result of the incarceration. The law will additionally allow the incarcerated party to petition for a change in an ordered child support obligation by citing the incarceration as a material change in circumstances.
No Imputation Based on Incarceration
Under the current child support statute, when the court determines each parent’s income level for a final child support amount, the court may impute income to a party if … Read More »
Do you have a current mental health diagnosis? What about an ongoing custody or visitation case in Virginia? Are you worried about the impact that your diagnosis could have on your case? You are not alone.
The pandemic has affected people in many ways. Various stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions. The inability to share precious moments with loved ones, like the birth of a new child, college graduations and wedding ceremonies. Most people can agree that COVID-19 has also impacted their mental health. People without a mental health diagnosis prior to the pandemic are now being riddled with stress, anxiety and depression. Those who had mental health diagnoses may be seeing their conditions worsen. How will a mental health diagnosis impact a custody or visitation case in Virginia?
Under in Virginia Code § 20-124.3, judges are required to consider the mental health of each … Read More »
Everyone knows that divorce can be war. Litigating divorce issues is fraught with battles that are filled with arguments, vitriol, and the burning desire to “win.” The emotional and financial toll can be crippling for the parties and their children. In Virginia, divorce trials are public, which means anyone can sit in the courtroom and listen to the most intimate details of your personal life. Divorce can be stressful, expensive, and unpredictable. But it doesn’t have to be.
You may already be familiar with some of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches to resolve divorce-related issues: you and your spouse can reach an agreement between yourselves; you can attend mediation (with or without attorneys); or you can participate in a settlement conference with your attorneys. However, underlying each of these methods is the immediate threat of litigation if an agreement is … Read More »
Your spouse tells you that she wants a divorce. This is not what you had ever imagined. Perhaps you are shocked, devastated, or a little bit angry. What do you do now? It was not supposed to be this way. Unfortunately, if your spouse does want a divorce, you can’t prevent her from ultimately obtaining one. Fortunately, there are ways of slowing down the process to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
If your spouse wants a divorce, you don’t have to do anything until she actually files and serves you with a Complaint for Divorce. Your spouse can threaten you with divorce, or present you with a marital settlement agreement demanding that you sign it, but you aren’t obligated to do or sign anything. Once you are served with a Complaint for Divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you … Read More »
One of the most common questions a family law attorney can hear at a cocktail party upon stating their profession is “Do you think I’m someone who should have a prenup when I get married?” A prenup being a premarital agreement (or “prenuptial agreement”), which governs the division of a married couple’s assets when they get divorced, and can even do so when one of them dies.
A typical lawyer answer, one we all learned in law school, is “it depends.” And for premarital agreements, it really does. Every couple can benefit from discussing their finances ahead of marriage, and what their goals are as they enter what is likely the most important “business relationship” of their lives. Marriages aren’t commonly viewed as business relationships, since couples tend to marry for love. But given all the benefits, ranging from tax breaks, … Read More »
If asked six months ago, many parents could have recited their family’s weekday routine: children go to school, parents go to work, and family time is enjoyed at night—rinse and repeat. COVID-19 has forced parents to restructure that routine and navigate through unprecedented times structuring their family’s day. This can be especially challenging to those parents co-parenting with a not-so-cooperative parent, or for those parents in the midst of separation. The largest and most impactful variable of them all is the uncertainty surrounding the new school year, and the numerous options available to parents in many school districts. This poses many questions: who gets to decide what learning option is best for the children? If the children are distance learning, who is responsible for supervising that? What about the parent’s day job?
Who gets to decide what learning option is best … Read More »
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is raising special challenges for those facing separation, divorce, custody or support cases in Virginia. Couples who were experiencing marital difficulties before the crisis may find those difficulties magnified as they now spend much more time together at home. There are various custody and visitation issues raised by COVID-19, as well as issues of modification of support as many people are laid off from their jobs.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an order temporarily limiting the types of cases that will be heard in Virginia. The order instructs Virginia courts to give precedence to certain emergency matters including emergency child custody cases, quarantine or isolation matters, and protective order cases. For more information, see Filing a New Family Law Case During the Judicial Emergency in Virginia.
The situation with COVID-19 does not mean that … Read More »