Category:Custody


COVID-19, Co-Parenting and the Virtual Classroom

Posted on August 17th, 2020, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Custody, Family Law. No Comments

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 »


Mediation of Virginia Family Law Cases During COVID-19

Posted on April 20th, 2020, by Jonathan McHugh in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

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 »


Filing a New Family Law Case During the Judicial Emergency in Virginia

Posted on April 15th, 2020, by Anneshia Miller Grant in Custody, Divorce, Family Law. No Comments

In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on March 16, 2020 the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an order declaring a judicial emergency in Virginia. The initial judicial emergency order declared the judicial emergency through April 6, 2020, but the Supreme Court subsequently entered two additional judicial emergency orders, each time extending the emergency period by an additional 21 days. As of its most recent judicial emergency order, the Supreme Court has extended the judicial emergency period through May 17, 2020.

The judicial emergency order limits matters being heard in Virginia courts during this time—however, courts are not closed entirely. While courts are not operating at their normal capacity, judges are are still hearing cases. 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.

The … 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 through April 6, 2020. The Supreme Court subsequently entered two additional judicial emergency orders, each time extending the emergency period by an additional 21 days. As of its most recent judicial emergency order, the Supreme Court has extended the judicial emergency period through May 17, 2020.

The judicial emergency order limits matters being … 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 Livesay & Myers, P.C. 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 Livesay & Myers, P.C. 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 »


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 »


Options for Appealing a Virginia Custody and Visitation Order

Posted on March 4th, 2019, by Livesay & Myers, P.C. in Custody, Family Law. Comments Off on Options for Appealing a Virginia Custody and Visitation Order

Custody disputes can be very contentious and it is often the case that at least one of the parents is dissatisfied with the court’s decision once all is said and done. However, the dissatisfied party can take some solace in knowing there is additional recourse available to them. That recourse is to appeal the decision of the court that entered the custody and visitation order to a higher court. The process for appealing a custody and visitation order in Virginia differs based on whether the order was entered by a juvenile and domestic relations court (“J&DR court”) or circuit court.

Appealing a J&DR Court Custody and Visitation Order

In the event your custody and visitation order was entered by a Virginia J&DR court, you have the automatic right and option to appeal the order to circuit court. See Virginia Code § 16.1-296(A). The right to … Read More »


I
Our Locations
Fairfax Office
3975 University Drive #325
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-865-4746
Arlington Office
1515 N Courthouse Rd #710
Arlington, VA 22201
703-746-9103
Leesburg Office
113 E Market St #110
Leesburg, VA 20176
571-291-3190
Manassas Office
9408 Grant Avenue #402
Manassas, VA 20110
571-208-1267
Fredericksburg Office
303 Charlotte Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
540-370-4140

We are still OPEN. We use email, phone and video conferencing to serve our clients remotely!

X