A Farewell Message from Andrew Harman, Esq.

Many of you know that I served as an infantryman in the Marine Corps earlier in life. As it turns out, I could never shake the urge to get back into uniform. Effective Friday, April 21, I will be leaving Curran Moher Weis to join the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps on active duty. I will start with a six-week basic training program at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by a ten-week legal training program at the Army’s JAG school in Charlottesville, Virginia. In September, my family and I will be moving to Hawaii where I will join the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.

To those attorneys with whom I had cases, thank you for your professionalism and dedication. You made a difficult area of law more enjoyable. To those clients I had the privilege to represent, I hope I made a difficult time a little easier. Last but certainly not least, it was a privilege to work with this firm. The skill, work ethic, and positive attitude on constant display here made Curran Moher Weis a terrific and enjoyable place to work, and I am sad to leave it. But duty calls.
Aloha, everyone.

Andrew J. Harman, Esq.

Curran Moher Weis Sponsors Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice for 5th Consecutive Year

While our firm focuses primarily on helping local families navigate the difficulties of divorce and family-related legal issues, we also recognize the importance of supporting and giving back to our community.

3 Keys to a “Successful” Virginia Divorce

The late and highly respected attorney Betty Thompson, a monumental force in modernizing Virginia family law, was known for telling clients at their initial consultations that “the only won cases are cases resolved out of court.” Having clerked for her during law school, that phrase has stuck with me ever since. Each case is different and there are situations where a trial is unavoidable. However, your attorney should work with you along the way to see if a successful resolution out of court is possible.

So what can you do to ensure that your divorce is as close to successful as possible?

In-House Separation in Virginia – How do you do it?

You may know that you and your spouse must live separately for a period of time (either six months or a year, depending on the circumstances) before you qualify for a no-fault divorce in Virginia.  But must you and your spouse live in separate households before or during a pending divorce to qualify as being separated? The short answer is “probably not.” In most cases, you and your spouse can continue to live in the same home during your separation and/or pending divorce proceedings, provided you take steps to establish an “in-home separation.”

Virginia courts generally recognize in-home separations as valid.  Courts realize that sometimes divorcing spouses are unable or unwilling to maintain separate households for financial, child care, or other reasons during the divorce.

So how does an in-home separation work? That answer is a bit more complicated and there is no single way of doing it, but outlined below are some of the important things to consider when separating in the same home.

Will Adultery Impact My Security Clearance?

It sometimes seems that nearly every government employee or military officer working in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and/or Loudoun Counties has some form of top secret security clearance. As a result, I am often asked “will my divorce affect my employment” or, more commonly, “could committing adultery impact my security clearance?” The answer typically is: it depends on your security officer and what you have done. Here are some things to consider:

3 Strategies to Keep Your Virginia Divorce Out of Court

Everyone has heard the horror stories of divorce. Perhaps you have a friend who had to liquidate a child’s college fund to pay for his attorney. Another spent the better part of two years battling over custody of a young child. Yet another got an unfair decision from a “bad” judge. The stories are countless. However, most of these stories stem from litigation.

When two parties go to court to resolve a dispute, they guarantee the following outcomes:

Hiding Assets in a Virginia Divorce is a Game No One Wins

hiding assets in virginia divorce

In anticipation of a divorce, most attorneys will advise their clients to gather financial documents and make a detailed list of their assets. Attorneys may even advise a client to secure up to 50% of the couple’s liquid assets (e.g., transferring money from a joint account to an individual one). The rationale behind this aggressive strategy is that the other spouse cannot dispose or hide assets to which he or she does not have any access.

Logically, the other side of the coin seems to be that it would be advantageous for a spouse to hide or squander those very same assets before they are divided. If a spouse does not know a particular asset exists, or it has already been spent, that asset cannot be divided. However, court rules and procedures, as well as improved investigative techniques, have made this a risky endeavor.

Divorce and the Holidays: Tips from Curran Moher Weis

holiday visitation virginia divorce

As the Christmas and New Year holidays are fast approaching, you want to be able to enjoy the holidays with your children and other loved ones.  If you are divorced with children or in the midst of a divorce with children, the holidays can be a very stressful time.  The last thing that anyone wants to do is argue over custody and visitation issues with their former spouse or soon-to-be former spouse during what should be a joyous and happy season.

Children’s Testimony in Custody Cases

child testimony in custody case

One of the biggest dilemmas that both family law attorneys and parents face in custody cases is whether a child should testify in the custody trial.  Some parents want to shield their child from the court process regardless of the circumstances, while others want to give their child a voice – particularly if the child wants to be heard.  Let’s look at some things to consider when this issue pops up:

The law:

In custody cases, trial courts have a list of factors they must consider in determining what is in the “best interests of the child.”  These factors are listed in §20-124.3 of the Code of Virginia.  Factor 8 instructs the court to consider the “reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference.”  A judge, after examination of the child or hearing evidence about the child’s age, maturity, and intelligence, has the discretion to decide whether the child is competent to testify. 

UPDATE: Adultery, “Crimes Against Nature,” and the Fifth Amendment in Virginia

I originally wrote my article on adultery in Virginia in 2006 and updated it for publication in Virginia Family Law News in 2009. Since that time many prospective clients (and more than a few fellow attorneys) have contacted me to discuss the rather thorny legal issues that have surrounded the issue of adultery in Virginia. The law has now changed, however, so if you read my original adultery article here you should also read this update.

Adultery (which is defined as male/female sexual intercourse only) is still a crime in Virginia for the married participant, although one which is rarely, if ever, prosecuted. This means that under certain circumstances the married participant may “plead the Fifth” and refuse to answer questions regarding adultery. However, the law has changed with respect to section 18.2-361 of the Virginia Code — the so-called “crimes against nature” or “sodomy” statute. As you may have seen in my prior article, this statute used to make it a felony for people to engage in a whole range of sexual contact, including oral sex and same-sex acts. This allowed people to “plead the Fifth” to this conduct as well. This statute, however, was amended in 2014 to remove the prohibition on sexual contact between non-related consenting individuals.

What does this mean? Broadly, it means people can’t refuse to answer questions about same sex conduct in divorce proceedings anymore. If you think this may apply to your situation, you should consult with an experienced Virginia Divorce Attorney who is well-versed on issues of adultery and the Fifth Amendment.

    Virginia Divorce and Family Law Blog
    Founded by Gerald Curran, Esq. and Grant Moher, Esq., formerly partners at one of Virginia’s largest family law firms, the attorneys at Curran Moher Weis are committed to representing the interests and protecting the futures of their clients.
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