Common Family Law Issues

a paper cut out representing family law issues, contact Curran Moher Weis Family Attorneys for help in Fairfax

Any legal issue relating to marriage, divorce, children, or families generally fits under the umbrella of “family law.” If you’re curious about what some common family law issues are, look no further than our best Fairfax family law attorney from Curran Moher Weis to assist with any questions you may have.

Understanding Family Law Issues

Family law focuses on issues relating to families, such as:

  1. Divorce – This is definitely a big part of the family law attorney’s job but not the entire job. Handling dissolutions of marriage, legal separations, and annulments is a part of family law.
  2. Marriage – Whether it’s a marital property dispute or a prenuptial agreement, Family law attorneys handle issues relating to the marital contract.
  3. Child Support – Along with divorce and marriage comes children, of course. Child support is the ongoing payments made by the parent the kids don’t live with to the parent they do live with.
  4. Alimony – Also known as “spousal maintenance,” alimony is a legally required payment made regularly for a set period of time from one spouse to the other for the purpose of financially supporting that person after divorce.
  5. Adoption – Whether it’s grandparents adopting a grandchild or strangers adopting a baby, family law attorneys handle all of the paperwork. Occasionally lawyers get involved in taking care of foster care placement legalities as well.
  6. Paternity – There is a legally established protocol for establishing the paternity of a child. Family law attorneys can with the paperwork and legal process to prove or disprove that a child is a man’s biological descendant.
  7. Emancipation – This is another legal process relating to children. When a minor is emancipated, the court has determined that the child may assume legal adult status under the law and is no longer under the care of their parents.
  8. Child Custody – Finally, family law attorneys help couples arrange for custody orders during the divorce.

Hiring a Family Law Attorney

If you’re experiencing one of these common family law issues, be sure to take your time interviewing a few family law attorneys before deciding what to hire. Here are some things to check:

  1. Do you share your cell phone number with your clients? What’s the best way to reach you (email, text, phone call)?
  2. Explain your fees. Will there be a retainer? What’s your hourly rate? Is a flat fee possible? May I see an example of what one of your itemized bills looks like? Are there any other fees I should be aware of? Are any of these fees negotiable?
  3. Will I be consulted before any decisions are made regarding my case?
  4. May I see a copy of your contract?
  5. How do you approach cases like mine? What’s your strategy?
  6. Can you introduce me to everyone who will be involved in working with me (paralegal, receptionist, law partner)?
  7. Will you personally handle my case from start to finish?

Contact a Fairfax Family Law Attorney Near You to Get Started

If you’re ready to move forward with your family law issue, don’t hesitate to contact our best Fairfax family law attorney from Curran Moher Weis today. Our team of family law pros has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to get your issue resolved in the most efficient manner possible as many families in Fairfax, and nearby.


What Justifies a Child Support Modification or Termination?

child support agreement form, a Family Law attorney from Curran Moher Weis can help.

Child support is based on a wide range of factors that apply at the time it is calculated – according to the State of Virginia’s child support guidelines. The fact is, however, that the circumstances that guided your original child support order can evolve over time, and a modification – or adjustment – may be in order. If you have questions or concerns about how child support stands in your case, don’t wait to reach out to an experienced Fairfax child support attorney near you.

Income Shares Model

Virginia uses what is called an income shares model in the calculation of child support that takes both parents’ incomes into consideration. This method is intended to balance each parent’s financial ability to support the children while helping to ensure that the children are as well supported financially as they would have been if the parents had remained together. The court recognizes that circumstances change and, as a result, allows child support modifications when certain factors change significantly.

The Initiation of a Child Support Modification

Child support modifications are initiated in one of the following three ways:

 

  1. Either parent (the parent who pays child support or the parent who receives child support) petitions the court for a modification
  2. The court itself motions for a modification
  3. A probation officer of the Department of Social Services petitions the court for a modification

 

The Primary Reasons for Child Support Modifications

The court does not modify child support orders lightly, but if one of the following factors applies, a child support modification may be taken into consideration:

 

  1. It has been at least 36 months since your original child support order (or since your last review for modification).
  2. Either parent’s income either increased or decreased by at least 25 percent
  3. The primary custodial parent’s work-related childcare costs either increased or decreased by at least 25 percent.
  4. Healthcare coverage costs for the children either increased or decreased by at least 25 percent – or the order needs to take healthcare coverage expenses into consideration.
  5. The current child support order failed to take the reimbursed medical/dental provision into consideration.
  6. A child needs to be added to the order (because of a change in physical custody or of birth) or is no longer eligible for support (because of a change in physical custody or emancipation).

 

With the passage of time, your financial situation and your children’s needs can change, and such change can instigate the need for a child support modification.

Turn to an Experienced Fairfax Child Support Attorney Near You

If you believe you need a child support modification – or your children’s other parent is seeking one – the dedicated child support attorneys at Curran Moher Weis in Fairfax, Virginia, and nearby are standing by to help. We have the experience, legal insight, and drive to help ensure that you and your children’s rights are well protected throughout the modification process. Your modification needs are important, so please don’t wait to reach out and contact or call us at 571-931-2941 for more information today.


Protecting your Children’s Health Care Coverage After a Divorce

There is hardly a subject more widely discussed and debated than health care coverage. If you are contemplating a divorce, or are currently pursuing one, and you have children, you are no doubt wondering how to protect your children’s access to health care coverage and services once a divorce were final. A Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) might just be the underutilized tool you need to ensure that your child(ren) continue to receive the coverage they deserve.

Aside from an acronym that doesn’t quite just roll off the tongue, what else is QMCSO good for? I’ll help fill you in on a few key questions: (1) what is a QMCSO, (2) what does a QMCSO do, and (3) what are the requirements of a QMCSO?

(1) What is a QMCSO?

A QMCSO is an order made pursuant to the laws of a state court that provides for child support or health benefit coverage for a child of a participant under a group health plan.  It creates or recognizes the rights of an alternate recipient (not the participant) to receive benefits for which a participant or beneficiary is eligible under a group health plan.  As indicated in its name the order must be “Qualified”, meaning it must contain certain information and meet the requirements of the QMCSO provisions, which I’ll get to later.

(2) What does a QMCSO do?

In short, a QMCSO orders a health insurance provider to comply with state laws regarding medical child support.  Each state is required by Congress under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to have in place specific state laws relating to medical child support in order to receive certain federal funds.  Each state must have laws that:

  1. a.  Require health insurers to enroll a child under his or her parent’s health insurance even if:
    1.   i. the child is born out of wedlock;
      1.   ii.  the child does not reside with the insured parent
      2.   iii.  the child does not live in the insurer’s service area;
  1.   iv. or the child is not claimed as a dependent on the parent’s federal income tax return;
  1. b. Require health insurers to enroll a child without regard to the plan’s open enrollment restrictions;
  2. c. Require employers and insurers to comply with orders requiring a parent to provide health insurance for a child; and
  3. d. Require insurers to permit a custodial parent to file claims on behalf of his or her child under the non-custodial parent’s health insurance, and to make benefit payments directly to the custodial parent or health care provider.

 

Note that a QMCSO cannot require a plan to provide any type or form of benefit not otherwise provided by the plan, except to the extent necessary to meet the requirements of the laws I just mentioned.

(3) What are the requirements of a QMCSO?

A QMCSO requires that one of the parents be ordered to provide health care coverage for a child under a group health plan.  It does not apply to government-funded health insurance plans like Medicaid because ERISA, the law which allows for the creation of a QMCSO, applies to private sector employers only.

So in short, a QMCSO can help you: if you want primary custody, but don’t want your child to lose the non-custodial parent’s health care coverage; if you want to be able to submit a claim despite not being a participant or beneficiary of the other parent’s health plan; or if you need to enroll your child outside of a provider’s open enrollment period.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this and other complexities involved in divorce, you are not alone. But that’s what we’re here for. One of our experienced family law attorneys at Curran Moher Weis can help make the difficult experience of divorce easier by helping you navigate whether you qualify for a QMCSO and whether it would be beneficial to you in your case.  Reach out to us to request a consultation here and learn more about child support in Virginia here.


Understanding the Virginia Child Support Calculator

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.