Category:Family Law


Emergency Protective Orders in Virginia

Posted on July 13th, 2009, by James Livesay in Family Law. Comments Off on Emergency Protective Orders in Virginia

Emergency protective orders can be issued in Virginia 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An emergency protective order can be issued by any circuit court, general district court, or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge, or by any magistrate. Given the urgency of many situations, a law enforcement officer may request an emergency protective order orally, in person, or by electronic means. The judge or magistrate may issue an oral emergency protective order, which must be reduced to writing by the law enforcement officer who made the request.

Because of the emergency nature of family abuse situations, an emergency protective order can be issued ex parte, with no notice to the alleged abuser (the defendant). There must be reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant has committed family abuse against a family or household member and that there … Read More »


Denial of Visitation and Modification of Visitation Orders In Virginia

Posted on July 8th, 2009, by James Livesay in Custody, Family Law. Comments Off on Denial of Visitation and Modification of Visitation Orders In Virginia

Parents who take it upon themselves to deny visitation rights without following the proper channels through the courts, do so in violation of Virginia law. Even in cases of non-payment of child support, it is simply not appropriate for a parent to arbitrarily deny court-ordered visitation.

“My Ex Won’t Let Me See My Child!”

A parent who refuses to allow another parent visitation that has been court-ordered risks being found in contempt of court. If the offending parent does not comply with the order, by allowing the court-ordered visitation, that parent could face jail time or a fine.

If one parent believes the other parent should not have visitation, for whatever reason, the proper way to handle the situation is through the courts. If it is an emergency situation, such as violence or abuse, the court can award an emergency order followed by … Read More »


Voluntary Underemployment In Virginia Support Cases

Posted on June 22nd, 2009, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Voluntary Underemployment In Virginia Support Cases

In alimony or child support cases, Virginia law allows the court to find a party is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed, and to calculate support based on a higher income than he or she is actually earning. As the Virginia Court of Appeals has written, “[a] court may under appropriate circumstances impute income to a party seeking spousal support. This conclusion logically flows from the principle that one who seeks spousal support is obligated to earn as much as he or she reasonably can to reduce the amount of the support need…. A spouse may not choose a low paying position that penalizes the other spouse.”

Virginia Code § 20-107.1 directs the trial court to consider as a spousal support factor each party’s earning capacity. For child support, imputed income is a deviation factor listed in Virginia Code § 20-108.1(B)(3). The court must … Read More »


Think Twice About Handling Your Separation and Divorce Without An Attorney

Posted on June 18th, 2009, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on Think Twice About Handling Your Separation and Divorce Without An Attorney

For most uncontested divorces, the parties will need to execute a property settlement agreement, commonly known as a “PSA,” settlement agreement, or simply a separation agreement. With the growing availability on the internet of forms and samples for such documents, some people feel confident in drafting an agreement without the assistance of an attorney. These agreements may turn out to be valid and work for some people, but may result in financial disaster for others.

Language in a separation agreement may seem to have one meaning, but may have an entirely different legal meaning. As an example: John and Ellen sign a separation agreement stating they will “share” physical and legal custody of the child. However, Ellen keeps the children most of the time. Without knowing anything else about this agreement, Ellen may have opened the door for a smaller amount … Read More »


New Concurrent Receipt Plan For Medical Retirees

Posted on May 15th, 2009, by James Livesay in Family Law, Military Divorce. Comments Off on New Concurrent Receipt Plan For Medical Retirees

More details surfaced this week on the Administration’s proposal to expand concurrent receipt to service members who were medically retired, sometimes referred to as Chapter 61 retirees.

Under the Administration’s Omnibus proposal, all Chapter 61 retirees will become eligible for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) over a five-year period starting in January 2010. The expansion will come in two phases.

The first three years of the five year phase-in opens CRDP eligibility to the more severely disabled Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service.

On January 1, 2010, Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service and a VA rating of either 90% or 100% become eligible
On January 1, 2011, Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service and a VA rating of either 70% or 80% become eligible
On January 1, 2012, Chapter 61 retirees … Read More »


Is It Really Cheaper To Keep Her (Or Him)?

Posted on February 12th, 2009, by James Livesay in Divorce, Family Law. Comments Off on Is It Really Cheaper To Keep Her (Or Him)?

Spousal support (alimony) is often the toughest nut to crack in a contested divorce in Virginia. More and more, Virginia Courts seem to be relying on some “local guidelines” in determining spousal support—guidelines that seem to favor the payor of support.

The spousal support issue arises in any Virginia separation or divorce case where the parties have been married for any substantial length of time and there is a significant gap in the parties’ income. When spousal support comes into play, the parties and their attorneys (and the Court, if the parties cannot agree) have to sort out (a) how much spousal support should be paid, and (b) for how long. I won’t get into the “for how long” issue here—perhaps I’ll address that in a future post. But I do want to talk about the “how much” question.

With CHILD support … Read More »


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