Over the past number of years, the family law landscape in Virginia has changed quite a bit. Before the 1990’s, there was only one true option for a couple seeking a divorce – go to court and have a judge decide the outcome. This method has obvious drawbacks: preparing for court and sitting through a trial is incredibly stressful, especially when your children are the subject of the proceedings; the process is long and arduous, often taking about one year from the date someone first files for divorce; the costs can be exorbitant. While to some this may be worthwhile and even necessary, most divorcing couples hope for exactly the opposite.
On November 16, 2017, the House passed its “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” setting the stage for the biggest tax reform legislation in decades. For more details on the bill, feel free to peruse the analysis performed by your news-provider-of-choice. While passage by the House does not guarantee anything as of yet (the Senate is still working on their own tax reform bill), tax reform certainly appears likely by the end of the year.
Potential clients often ask about the likelihood that they will be awarded sole custody of their child. This prediction, however, is not so easily forecast. In Virginia, there is both legal and physical custody, and there can be both sole legal and/or sole physical custody awarded or agreed to in any case. Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make major decisions regarding a child. So, sole legal custody is the situation where only one parent is responsible for making all decisions regarding a child. Physical custody refers to daily care of a child. When a parent is awarded sole physical custody of a child, he or she is the parent responsible to care for that child. Nevertheless, in all situations involving custody, the courts weigh a number of factors in determining what is in the best interests of the child.
Courts are often asked to determine the appropriate amount of child support payable between divorcing parents. Virginia Code Section 20-108.2 sets forth the “guidelines” used to calculate child support. The amount of support calculated with the guidelines is presumed to be the correct amount of child support, so it is important to have a thorough understanding of how these guidelines work.
Child custody invokes strong emotions and intense personal interest from all parties involved. Matters involving the best interests of one’s child or children can have serious consequences. Money is fungible and can come and go — your children are your children.
Choosing a divorce or family law attorney can be a difficult undertaking. Depending on the complexity of the situation, it can be challenging for regular people to wade through the legal options and make the best choices for themselves. However, in general, when you’re meeting with an attorney, you should feel comfortable asking the attorney to explain unfamiliar concepts with you, and go over your possible choices.
As we pass Memorial Day and inch closer to the summer, we all look forward to warm weather, trips to the beach, and hopefully a vacation. This weekend also marks the unofficial beginning of wedding season. A joyous time indeed but, as a family law attorney, this is also when I start receiving many questions about prenuptial agreements.
As ominous as that may sound, I can personally vouch for a 100% success rate in negotiating prenuptial agreements which means that all my clients celebrated a wonderful wedding and rode off into the sunset ready to embark on a much-needed honeymoon. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t traps and pitfalls to avoid along the way. The following are some frequently asked questions I have received throughout the years, as well as a few tips towards successfully navigating the negotiation process:
Researchers may have hit upon one factor explaining many Northern Virginia divorces: Personality Evolution. The longest personality study ever conducted confirms that people change so dramatically as they grow older that they often bear almost no resemblance to their younger selves.
Politics have always been a hot button issue, but the current divisions in our country seem especially pronounced. A new national poll from Wakefield Research indicates that the tense political environment, particularly differing views over President Trump’s election and platforms, is causing rifts in marriages and relationships like never before.
There are three main players involved in your divorce: you, your spouse, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Just as Virginia has laws about getting married, it also has certain criteria for officially ending a marriage. Among other legal considerations, you cannot simply leave your spouse, gather your things, and immediately tell the court you need a divorce. You have to give the court an acceptable reason why you should be allowed to end your marriage. The reason is known as the ground for your divorce. In Virginia, the grounds of divorce are laid out in Code of Virginia; Title 20, Section 20-91.