Monthly Archives: July 2010

Virginia Separation Agreement

Virginia Separation Agreement

Under Virginia law, if the husband and wife have signed a separation agreement, the terms are binding on the court. There are however exceptions, for example if the Virginia separation agreement is unconscionable or entered into under duress or diminished capacity, the separation agreement may not be binding Under Virginia law. Additionally, the child custody terms may not bind the court, since the court decides child custody based on the best interests of the child and not necessarily the parents’ wishes. A poorly drafted Virginia separation agreement is sometimes worse than not having an agreement at all! Therefore it is strongly recommended to have a Virginia separation agreement that is drafted by a Virginia lawyer.

A Virginia separation agreement will contain, at an absolute minimum, terms addressing the following matters:

* Distribution of Property: This section of the Virginia separation agreement addresses basic issues, for example who gets the house; who pays the mortgage; who keeps which car; how to handle insurance payments for property; what happens to the bank, retirement, and investment accounts. Before you enter into a Virginia property settlement or separation agreement, you need to be aware of the provisions provided under the law. Know your Virginia rights before contracting them away!
* Child support: In Virginia, child support is awarded pursuant to the Virginia child support guidelines as well as other important considerations. Be aware of the law before entering into a Virginia separation agreement. Remember, under Virginia law, the parents cannot waive the child’s right to be supported by his/her parents.
* Child custody: Should you agree to joint custody, sole custody, or shared custody? How do you address both physical and legal custody? What will be the visitation schedule? How does it compare to what a court would award if the case is litigated? Will the Virginia separation agreement be binding on the court?
* Alimony or spousal support: The terms of a Virginia separation agreement are generally binding on the court. The duration and the amount of spousal support agreed to as part of a Virginia separation agreement has a significant impact on your legal rights.

The Court may incorporate a property settlement agreement between the parties to its Final Decree of Divorce

§ 20-109.1. Affirmation, ratification and incorporation by reference in decree of agreement between parties.

Any court may affirm, ratify and incorporate by reference in its decree dissolving a marriage or decree of divorce whether from the bond of matrimony or from bed and board, or by a separate decree prior to or subsequent to such decree, or in a decree entered in a suit for annulment or separate maintenance, and in a proceeding arising under subsection A 3 or L of § 16.1-241, any valid agreement between the parties, or provisions thereof, concerning the conditions of the maintenance of the parties, or either of them and the care, custody and maintenance of their minor children, or establishing or imposing any other condition or consideration, monetary or nonmonetary. Provisions in such agreements for the modification of child support shall be valid and enforceable. Unless otherwise provided for in such agreement or decree incorporating such agreement, such future modifications shall not require a subsequent court decree. This section shall be subject to the provisions of § 20-108. Where the court affirms, ratifies and incorporates by reference in its decree such agreement or provision thereof, it shall be deemed for all purposes to be a term of the decree, and enforceable in the same manner as any provision of such decree. The provisions of this section shall apply to any decree hereinbefore or hereinafter entered affirming, ratifying and incorporating an agreement as provided herein. Upon the death or remarriage of the spouse receiving support, spousal support shall terminate unless otherwise provided by stipulation or contract. In any case where jurisdiction is obtained over a nonresident defendant by order of publication or by acceptance of service pursuant to § 20-99.1:1, any properly acknowledged and otherwise valid agreement entered into between the parties may be affirmed, ratified and incorporated as provided in this section.

These are only some of the terms of a Virginia separation agreement. Fault grounds, estate rights, forum selection, alternative dispute resolution and many other terms can be included in a Virginia separation agreement. Our Virginia lawyers can provide you with Virginia divorce advice.

Contact a Virginia Divorce and Separation Agreement Lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Uncontested Divorce

Virginia Uncontested Divorce

To be able to obtain a Virginia uncontested divorce neither the husband nor the wife may assert causes for divorce. In most situations, a written separation agreement is also required.

A Virginia uncontested divorce attorney can assist you through the entire Virginia uncontested divorce proceeding. We offer the option of a flat fee for obtaining an uncontested divorce in Virginia as long as certain requirements are met.

Contact a Virginia uncontested divorce attorney.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).
Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Spousal Support

Virginia Spousal Support and Alimony

In Virginia, there are two types of spousal support, pendente lite support and post-divorce spousal support.

* Temporary (Pendente Lite) spousal support in Virginia
* “Permanent” spousal support

An award of Virginia pendente lite spousal support occurs while the divorce proceeding is pending and is designed to assist the recipient to maintain the divorce suit. Pendente lite spousal support can be awarded in Virginia shortly after the filing of the divorce complaint. Many Courts conduct Pendente Lite hearings on Fridays.

The Court’s authority to award temporary spousal support during a Virginia divorce lawsuit is statutory.

§ 20-103. Court may make orders pending suit for divorce, custody or visitation, etc.

A. In suits for divorce, annulment and separate maintenance, and in proceedings arising under subdivision A 3 or subsection L of § 16.1-241, the court having jurisdiction of the matter may, at any time pending a suit pursuant to this chapter, in the discretion of such court, make any order that may be proper (i) to compel a spouse to pay any sums necessary for the maintenance and support of the petitioning spouse, including an order that the other spouse provide health care coverage for the petitioning spouse, unless it is shown that such coverage cannot be obtained, (ii) to enable such spouse to carry on the suit, (iii) to prevent either spouse from imposing any restraint on the personal liberty of the other spouse, (iv) to provide for the custody and maintenance of the minor children of the parties, including an order that either party provide health care coverage for the children, (v) to provide support, calculated in accordance with § 20-108.2, for any child of the parties to whom a duty of support is owed and to continue to support any child over the age of 18 who meets the requirements set forth in subsection C of § 20-124.2, (vi) for the exclusive use and possession of the family residence during the pendency of the suit, (vii) to preserve the estate of either spouse, so that it be forthcoming to meet any decree which may be made in the suit, or (viii) to compel either spouse to give security to abide such decree. The parties to any petition where a child whose custody, visitation, or support is contested shall show proof that they have attended within the 12 months prior to their court appearance or that they shall attend within 45 days thereafter an educational seminar or other like program conducted by a qualified person or organization approved by the court except that the court may require the parties to attend such seminar or program in uncontested cases only if the court finds good cause. The seminar or other program shall be a minimum of four hours in length and shall address the effects of separation or divorce on children, parenting responsibilities, options for conflict resolution and financial responsibilities. Once a party has completed one educational seminar or other like program, the required completion of additional programs shall be at the court’s discretion. Parties under this section shall include natural or adoptive parents of the child, or any person with a legitimate interest as defined in § 20-124.1. The fee charged a party for participation in such program shall be based on the party’s ability to pay; however, no fee in excess of $50 may be charged. Whenever possible, before participating in mediation or alternative dispute resolution to address custody, visitation or support, each party shall have attended the educational seminar or other like program. The court may grant an exemption from attendance of such program for good cause shown or if there is no program reasonably available. Other than statements or admissions by a party admitting criminal activity or child abuse, no statement or admission by a party in such seminar or program shall be admissible into evidence in any subsequent proceeding.

B. In addition to the terms provided in subsection A, upon a showing by a party of reasonable apprehension of physical harm to that party by such party’s family or household member as that term is defined in § 16.1-228, and consistent with rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the court may enter an order excluding that party’s family or household member from the jointly owned or jointly rented family dwelling. In any case where an order is entered under this paragraph, pursuant to an ex parte hearing, the order shall not exclude a family or household member from the family dwelling for a period in excess of 15 days from the date the order is served, in person, upon the person so excluded. The order may provide for an extension of time beyond the 15 days, to become effective automatically. The person served may at any time file a written motion in the clerk’s office requesting a hearing to dissolve or modify the order. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the court from extending an order entered under this subsection for such longer period of time as is deemed appropriate, after a hearing on notice to the parties. If the party subject to the order fails to appear at this hearing, the court may extend the order for a period not to exceed six months.

C. In cases other than those for divorce in which a custody or visitation arrangement for a minor child is sought, the court may enter an order providing for custody, visitation or maintenance pending the suit as provided in subsection A. The order shall be directed to either parent or any person with a legitimate interest who is a party to the suit.

D. Orders entered pursuant to this section which provide for custody or visitation arrangements pending the suit shall be made in accordance with the standards set out in Chapter 6.1 (§ 20-124.1 et seq.) of this title. Orders entered pursuant to subsection B shall be certified by the clerk and forwarded as soon as possible to the local police department or sheriff’s office which shall, on the date of receipt, enter the name of the person subject to the order and other appropriate information required by the Department of State Police into the Virginia crime information network system established and maintained by the Department of State Police pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 52-12 et seq.) of Title 52. If the order is later dissolved or modified, a copy of the dissolution or modification shall also be certified, forwarded and entered in the system as described above.

E. An order entered pursuant to this section shall have no presumptive effect and shall not be determinative when adjudicating the underlying cause.

[Back to top]

Upon entry of the Final Decree of divorce, the court may award spousal support. This award of Virginia spousal support may be permanent, meaning until the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse, or for a defined period of time.

The factors that a Virginia court must consider when awarding spousal support are the following:

* The earning capacity, obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
* The education and training of the parties and the ability and opportunity of the parties to secure such education and training;
* The standard of living established during the marriage;
* The duration of the marriage;
* The age and physical and mental condition of the parties;
* The contributions, monetary and non monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
* The property interest of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
* The provisions made with regard to the marital property; and
* Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party , as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

As is the case with most Virginia divorce law, the Court’s authority to award spousal support at the conclusion of the Virginia divorce suit is controlled by statute.

§ 20-107.1. Court may decree as to maintenance and support of spouses.

A. Pursuant to any proceeding arising under subsection L of § 16.1-241 or upon the entry of a decree providing (i) for the dissolution of a marriage, (ii) for a divorce, whether from the bond of matrimony or from bed and board, (iii) that neither party is entitled to a divorce, or (iv) for separate maintenance, the court may make such further decree as it shall deem expedient concerning the maintenance and support of the spouses. However, the court shall have no authority to decree maintenance and support payable by the estate of a deceased spouse.

B. Any maintenance and support shall be subject to the provisions of § 20-109, and no permanent maintenance and support shall be awarded from a spouse if there exists in such spouse’s favor a ground of divorce under the provisions of subdivision (1) of § 20-91. However, the court may make such an award notwithstanding the existence of such ground if the court determines from clear and convincing evidence, that a denial of support and maintenance would constitute a manifest injustice, based upon the respective degrees of fault during the marriage and the relative economic circumstances of the parties.

C. The court, in its discretion, may decree that maintenance and support of a spouse be made in periodic payments for a defined duration, or in periodic payments for an undefined duration, or in a lump sum award, or in any combination thereof.

D. In addition to or in lieu of an award pursuant to subsection C, the court may reserve the right of a party to receive support in the future. In any case in which the right to support is so reserved, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the reservation will continue for a period equal to 50 percent of the length of time between the date of the marriage and the date of separation. Once granted, the duration of such a reservation shall not be subject to modification.

E. The court, in determining whether to award support and maintenance for a spouse, shall consider the circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including adultery and any other ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95. In determining the nature, amount and duration of an award pursuant to this section, the court shall consider the following:

1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;

2. The standard of living established during the marriage;

3. The duration of the marriage;

4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;

5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;

6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;

7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;

8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;

9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;

10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;

11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;

12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and

13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

F. In contested cases in the circuit courts, any order granting, reserving or denying a request for spousal support shall be accompanied by written findings and conclusions of the court identifying the factors in subsection E which support the court’s order. If the court awards periodic support for a defined duration, such findings shall identify the basis for the nature, amount and duration of the award and, if appropriate, a specification of the events and circumstances reasonably contemplated by the court which support the award.

G. For purposes of this section and § 20-109, “date of separation” means the earliest date at which the parties are physically separated and at least one party intends such separation to be permanent provided the separation is continuous thereafter and “defined duration” means a period of time (i) with a specific beginning and ending date or (ii) specified in relation to the occurrence or cessation of an event or condition other than death or termination pursuant to § 20-110.

H. Where there are no minor children whom the parties have a mutual duty to support, an order directing the payment of spousal support, including those orders confirming separation agreements, entered on or after October 1, 1985, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, shall contain the following:

1. If known, the name, date of birth and social security number of each party and, unless otherwise ordered, each party’s residential and, if different, mailing address, residential and employer telephone number, driver’s license number, and the name and address of his employer; however, when a protective order has been issued or the court otherwise finds reason to believe that a party is at risk of physical or emotional harm from the other party, information other than the name of the party at risk shall not be included in the order;

2. The amount of periodic spousal support expressed in fixed sums, together with the payment interval, the date payments are due, and the date the first payment is due;

3. A statement as to whether there is an order for health care coverage for a party;

4. If support arrearages exist, (i) to whom an arrearage is owed and the amount of the arrearage, (ii) the period of time for which such arrearage is calculated, and (iii) a direction that all payments are to be credited to current spousal support obligations first, with any payment in excess of the current obligation applied to arrearages;

5. If spousal support payments are ordered to be paid directly to the obligee, and unless the court for good cause shown orders otherwise, the parties shall give each other and the court at least 30 days’ written notice, in advance, of any change of address and any change of telephone number within 30 days after the change; and

6. Notice that in determination of a spousal support obligation, the support obligation as it becomes due and unpaid creates a judgment by operation of law.

[Back to top]

Our law firm is your Virginia divorce lawyer with experience with all issues related to divorce, spousal support, and alimony in Virginia. Contact a Virginia alimony and spousal support lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Property Distribution

Virginia Property Distribution

In Virginia, a court cannot distribute property until the end of the divorce lawsuit. The court can enter an order enjoining the parties from dissipating financial assets. In other words, the court can “freeze” the property so that it will be available for distribution at the end of the divorce.

In Virginia, property can be marital, non-marital, or hybrid. Marital property is property that is either jointly titled, or acquired during the marriage other than by gift from third persons or by inheritance, no matter how titled. A Virginia court is empowered to distribute marital property as part of a Virginia divorce. Separate property is property acquired before the marriage in the sole name of either party, and property acquired by one party solely during the marriage by gift from third persons or by inheritance, or with the proceeds of separate property, so long as the property has been kept separate during the marriage. a Virginia court does not have the authority to distribute separate property during a Virginia divorce. Hybrid property is part-marital, part-separate.

For property distribution during a divorce, Virginia follows an “equitable distribution” of property theory for distributing marital property. This means that property is not necessarily divided equally between the husband and the wife, but the court attempts to make an equitable of fair distribution. To perform an equitable distribution of property, Virginia courts evaluate the following factors:

* The contributions, monetary and non monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
* The contributions, monetary and non monetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
* The duration of the marriage;
* The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
* The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce; how and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
* The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts sand liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
* The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
* The tax consequences to each party; and
* Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.

The division of property is controlled by statute. The court will first classify the property as marital separate of part-marital / part-separate. Then the court will perform an equitable (note that the word is “equitable” which is different from “equal”).

§ 20-107.3. Court may decree as to property of the parties.

A. Upon decreeing the dissolution of a marriage, and also upon decreeing a divorce from the bond of matrimony, or upon the filing with the court as provided in subsection J of a certified copy of a final divorce decree obtained without the Commonwealth, the court, upon request of either party, shall determine the legal title as between the parties, and the ownership and value of all property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, of the parties and shall consider which of such property is separate property, which is marital property, and which is part separate and part marital property in accordance with subdivision A 3. The court shall determine the value of any such property as of the date of the evidentiary hearing on the evaluation issue. Upon motion of either party made no less than 21 days before the evidentiary hearing the court may, for good cause shown, in order to attain the ends of justice, order that a different valuation date be used. The court, on the motion of either party, may retain jurisdiction in the final decree of divorce to adjudicate the remedy provided by this section when the court determines that such action is clearly necessary, and all decrees heretofore entered retaining such jurisdiction are validated.

1. Separate property is (i) all property, real and personal, acquired by either party before the marriage; (ii) all property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party; (iii) all property acquired during the marriage in exchange for or from the proceeds of sale of separate property, provided that such property acquired during the marriage is maintained as separate property; and (iv) that part of any property classified as separate pursuant to subdivision A 3. Income received from separate property during the marriage is separate property if not attributable to the personal effort of either party. The increase in value of separate property during the marriage is separate property, unless marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of the increases in value attributable to such contributions. The personal efforts of either party must be significant and result in substantial appreciation of the separate property if any increase in value attributable thereto is to be considered marital property.

2. Marital property is (i) all property titled in the names of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or otherwise, except as provided by subdivision A 3, (ii) that part of any property classified as marital pursuant to subdivision A 3, or (iii) all other property acquired by each party during the marriage which is not separate property as defined above. All property including that portion of pensions, profit-sharing or deferred compensation or retirement plans of whatever nature, acquired by either spouse during the marriage, and before the last separation of the parties, if at such time or thereafter at least one of the parties intends that the separation be permanent, is presumed to be marital property in the absence of satisfactory evidence that it is separate property. For purposes of this section marital property is presumed to be jointly owned unless there is a deed, title or other clear indicia that it is not jointly owned.

3. The court shall classify property as part marital property and part separate property as follows:

a. In the case of income received from separate property during the marriage, such income shall be marital property only to the extent it is attributable to the personal efforts of either party. In the case of the increase in value of separate property during the marriage, such increase in value shall be marital property only to the extent that marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases, provided that any such personal efforts must be significant and result in substantial appreciation of the separate property.

For purposes of this subdivision, the nonowning spouse shall bear the burden of proving that (i) contributions of marital property or personal effort were made and (ii) the separate property increased in value. Once this burden of proof is met, the owning spouse shall bear the burden of proving that the increase in value or some portion thereof was not caused by contributions of marital property or personal effort.

“Personal effort” of a party shall be deemed to be labor, effort, inventiveness, physical or intellectual skill, creativity, or managerial, promotional or marketing activity applied directly to the separate property of either party.

b. In the case of any pension, profit-sharing, or deferred compensation plan or retirement benefit, the marital share as defined in subsection G shall be marital property.

c. In the case of any personal injury or workers’ compensation recovery of either party, the marital share as defined in subsection H of this section shall be marital property.

d. When marital property and separate property are commingled by contributing one category of property to another, resulting in the loss of identity of the contributed property, the classification of the contributed property shall be transmuted to the category of property receiving the contribution. However, to the extent the contributed property is retraceable by a preponderance of the evidence and was not a gift, such contributed property shall retain its original classification.

e. When marital property and separate property are commingled into newly acquired property resulting in the loss of identity of the contributing properties, the commingled property shall be deemed transmuted to marital property. However, to the extent the contributed property is retraceable by a preponderance of the evidence and was not a gift, the contributed property shall retain its original classification.

f. When separate property is retitled in the joint names of the parties, the retitled property shall be deemed transmuted to marital property. However, to the extent the property is retraceable by a preponderance of the evidence and was not a gift, the retitled property shall retain its original classification.

g. When the separate property of one party is commingled into the separate property of the other party, or the separate property of each party is commingled into newly acquired property, to the extent the contributed property is retraceable by a preponderance of the evidence and was not a gift, each party shall be reimbursed the value of the contributed property in any award made pursuant to this section.

h. Subdivisions A 3 d, e and f of this section shall apply to jointly owned property. No presumption of gift shall arise under this section where (i) separate property is commingled with jointly owned property; (ii) newly acquired property is conveyed into joint ownership; or (iii) existing property is conveyed or retitled into joint ownership. For purposes of this subdivision A 3, property is jointly owned when it is titled in the name of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entireties, or otherwise.

B. For the purposes of this section only, both parties shall be deemed to have rights and interests in the marital property. However, such interests and rights shall not attach to the legal title of such property and are only to be used as a consideration in determining a monetary award, if any, as provided in this section.

C. Except as provided in subsection G, the court shall have no authority to order the division or transfer of separate property or marital property which is not jointly owned. The court may, based upon the factors listed in subsection E, divide or transfer or order the division or transfer, or both, of jointly owned marital property, or any part thereof. The court shall also have the authority to apportion and order the payment of the debts of the parties, or either of them, that are incurred prior to the dissolution of the marriage, based upon the factors listed in subsection E.

As a means of dividing or transferring the jointly owned marital property, the court may transfer or order the transfer of real or personal property or any interest therein to one of the parties, permit either party to purchase the interest of the other and direct the allocation of the proceeds, provided the party purchasing the interest of the other agrees to assume any indebtedness secured by the property, or order its sale by private sale by the parties, through such agent as the court shall direct, or by public sale as the court shall direct without the necessity for partition. All decrees entered prior to July 1, 1991, which are final and not subject to further proceedings on appeal as of that date, which divide or transfer or order the division or transfer of property directly between the parties are hereby validated and deemed self-executing. All orders or decrees which divide or transfer or order division or transfer of real property between the parties shall be recorded and indexed in the names of the parties in the appropriate grantor and grantee indexes in the land records in the clerk’s office of the circuit court of the county or city in which the property is located.

D. In addition, based upon (i) the equities and the rights and interests of each party in the marital property, and (ii) the factors listed in subsection E, the court has the power to grant a monetary award, payable either in a lump sum or over a period of time in fixed amounts, to either party. The party against whom a monetary award is made may satisfy the award, in whole or in part, by conveyance of property, subject to the approval of the court. An award entered pursuant to this subsection shall constitute a judgment within the meaning of § 8.01-426 and shall not be docketed by the clerk unless the decree so directs. The provisions of § 8.01-382, relating to interest on judgments, shall apply unless the court orders otherwise.

Any marital property, which has been considered or ordered transferred in granting the monetary award under this section, shall not thereafter be the subject of a suit between the same parties to transfer title or possession of such property.

E. The amount of any division or transfer of jointly owned marital property, and the amount of any monetary award, the apportionment of marital debts, and the method of payment shall be determined by the court after consideration of the following factors:

1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;

2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;

3. The duration of the marriage;

4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;

5. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivisions (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95;

6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;

7. The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;

8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;

9. The tax consequences to each party;

10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and

11. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.

F. The court shall determine the amount of any such monetary award without regard to maintenance and support awarded for either party or support for the minor children of both parties and shall, after or at the time of such determination and upon motion of either party, consider whether an order for support and maintenance of a spouse or children shall be entered or, if previously entered, whether such order shall be modified or vacated.

G. In addition to the monetary award made pursuant to subsection D, and upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection E:

1. The court may direct payment of a percentage of the marital share of any pension, profit-sharing or deferred compensation plan or retirement benefits, whether vested or nonvested, which constitutes marital property and whether payable in a lump sum or over a period of time. The court may order direct payment of such percentage of the marital share by direct assignment to a party from the employer trustee, plan administrator or other holder of the benefits. However, the court shall only direct that payment be made as such benefits are payable. No such payment shall exceed 50 percent of the marital share of the cash benefits actually received by the party against whom such award is made. “Marital share” means that portion of the total interest, the right to which was earned during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties, if at such time or thereafter at least one of the parties intended that the separation be permanent.

2. To the extent permitted by federal or other applicable law, the court may order a party to designate a spouse or former spouse as irrevocable beneficiary during the lifetime of the beneficiary of all or a portion of any survivor benefit or annuity plan of whatsoever nature, but not to include a life insurance policy. The court, in its discretion, shall determine as between the parties, who shall bear the costs of maintaining such plan.

H. In addition to the monetary award made pursuant to subsection D, and upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection E, the court may direct payment of a percentage of the marital share of any personal injury or workers’ compensation recovery of either party, whether such recovery is payable in a lump sum or over a period of time. However, the court shall only direct that payment be made as such recovery is payable, whether by settlement, jury award, court award, or otherwise. “Marital share” means that part of the total personal injury or workers’ compensation recovery attributable to lost wages or medical expenses to the extent not covered by health insurance accruing during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties, if at such time or thereafter at least one of the parties intended that the separation be permanent.

I. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the affirmation, ratification and incorporation in a decree of an agreement between the parties pursuant to §§ 20-109 and 20-109.1. Agreements, otherwise valid as contracts, entered into between spouses prior to the marriage shall be recognized and enforceable.

J. A court of proper jurisdiction under § 20-96 may exercise the powers conferred by this section after a court of a foreign jurisdiction has decreed a dissolution of a marriage or a divorce from the bond of matrimony, if (i) one of the parties was domiciled in this Commonwealth when the foreign proceedings were commenced, (ii) the foreign court did not have personal jurisdiction over the party domiciled in the Commonwealth, (iii) the proceeding is initiated within two years of receipt of notice of the foreign decree by the party domiciled in the Commonwealth, and (iv) the court obtains personal jurisdiction over the parties pursuant to subdivision A 9 of § 8.01-328.1, or in any other manner permitted by law.

K. The court shall have the continuing authority and jurisdiction to make any additional orders necessary to effectuate and enforce any order entered pursuant to this section, including the authority to:

1. Order a date certain for transfer or division of any jointly owned property under subsection C or payment of any monetary award under subsection D;

2. Punish as contempt of court any willful failure of a party to comply with the provisions of any order made by the court under this section;

3. Appoint a special commissioner to transfer any property under subsection C where a party refuses to comply with the order of the court to transfer such property; and

4. Modify any order entered in a case filed on or after July 1, 1982, intended to affect or divide any pension, profit-sharing or deferred compensation plan or retirement benefits pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code or other applicable federal laws, only for the purpose of establishing or maintaining the order as a qualified domestic relations order or to revise or conform its terms so as to effectuate the expressed intent of the order.

A Virginia divorce and property distribution lawyer can assist you during a divorce and property distribution proceeding in Virginia. Contact a Virginia divorce and property distribution attorney.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Child Support

Virginia Child Support

Under Virginia law, both parents have an absolute duty to support their children. Virginia has enacted child support guidelines that control the award of child support in Virginia. The Virginia child support guidelines consider the combined income of both parents as well as the cost of medical insurance for the children, extraordinary medical expenses, the cost of daycare, and the support being provided for other children.

The Virginia child support guidelines are presumed to provide the correct level of Virginia child support. In Virginia, the court will rarely deviate from the statutory child support guidelines. However, if the court were to deviate from the guidelines, the court would find that the presumption favoring the Virginia child support guidelines has been overcome. The court will apply the following factors to determine whether to deviate from the Virginia child support guidelines:

* Actual monetary support for other children or family members;
* Arrangement regarding custody of children;
* Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed
* Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
* Debts incurred for the production of income;
* Independent financial resources of the child;
* Earning capacity, obligations and needs, and financial resources of each parent;
* Written agreements between the parties as to amount of child support;
* other relevant considerations.

Virginia allows for the collection of child support through income withholding orders. Additionally, when the amount of support no longer represents the situation of the parties, Virginia courts can modify the amount of support ordered. For additional Virginia child support information and legal advice:

Contact a Virginia child support lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

Continue reading

Posted in Child Custody | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Child Custody

Virginia Child Custody

As your Virginia child custody attorney, our firm handles Virginia child custody litigation. However, if you are not pursuing the best interests of your child or children, we encourage you to seek child custody representation elsewhere.

If you are seeking high-quality child custody legal representation to protect the best interests of your child in Virginia… we are your child custody attorney.

Perhaps the most difficult and emotional part of a divorce or separation is the determination of where the children will reside.

Our clients come to us with many questions, concerns, and worries about their children… where will the children reside, what parent will have custody or visitation, can custody be shared, how do I keep my children safe from an abusive ex, and many others. We have handled many child custody cases, from those where the parties enter into a parenting agreement, to those requiring a full trial in the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, to those appealed to the Virginia Circuit Court, and even those appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals. Every Virginia child custody case is unique and every case is provided the utmost care and dedication.

In Virginia, child custody cases are decided by evaluating the following Virginia child custody statutory factors.

In determining custody in Virginia, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the child. To determine child custody in Virginia, the court must evaluate the following child custody statutory factors:

1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child’s changing developmental needs. – The court will consider the age of the child and the care necessary for a child of that age, mental, and physical condition when considering this child custody factor in Virginia. A newborn child obviously need different care than a teenage child. A child custody decision in Virginia will focus on determining who is the parent better suited to attend to the needs of the child…now.
2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent.
3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child.
4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members.
5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child.
6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child. – This is an extremely important child custody factor in Virginia. The ability of parents to work together to promote the best interests of the child can’t be underestimated. When a parent alienates the child from the other parent for no good reason (good reason meaning in the child’s best interests, not in the parent’s), the court will generally not look favorably at that parent when determining which parent will get custody of the child. There are only very few “reasonable” circumstances when a court will not look unfavorably at a parent’s acts of denying visitation to the other parent.
7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child.
8. 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.
9. Any history of family abuse.
10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

Code of Virginia, Title 20, Section 20-124.2 and 124.3

Our Virginia child custody law firm has tried many child custody cases and has a very successful track record of accomplishments and results. If you are in the middle of or about to start a child custody dispute in Virginia, contact us before taking any actions. The strategy taken in the beginning of your child custody case will have an enormous impact on the outcome of the case. Let our Virginia child custody attorneys share their knowledge with you.

Contact a Virginia child custody lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

Continue reading

Posted in Child Custody | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Virginia Divorce

Virginia Divorce

Going through a Virginia divorce is very difficult mentally, emotionally, and financially. The advice of an experienced Virginia divorce attorney is extremely important to get through this process and to reduce the stress and uncertainty that comes with a Virginia divorce.

* Consult us before making the decision to file for divorce in Virginia
* Service process for the Virginia divorce suit
* Virginia divorce grounds
* Obtaining temporary relief (Pendente Lite)

As your Virginia divorce attorney, our firm understands both the law and the personal aspects of a Virginia divorce. Our Virginia law firm can provide legal advice even before the Virginia divorce proceedings begin. Being prepared in advance for a Virginia divorce can make a difference. We can advice you and assist you with your strategy for preparing for your Virginia divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support and property distribution issues. We can also assist you in preparing a separation agreement in order to facilitate an uncontested divorce.

After making the decision to file for divorce in Virginia and whether to file based on Virginia divorce grounds, there are still many questions that require the guidance of a competent Virginia divorce attorney. Where will the children live? What will happen to the property obtain prior to, during, or after the separation? What are Virginia divorce laws regarding retirement benefits? Do the rules change when dealing with military retirement?

The commencement of a suit for divorce in Virginia is purely governed by statute.

§ 20-99. How such suits instituted and conducted; costs.

Such suit shall be instituted and conducted as other suits in equity, except as otherwise provided in this section:

1. No divorce, annulment, or affirmation of a marriage shall be granted on the uncorroborated testimony of the parties or either of them.

2. Whether the defendant answers or not, the cause shall be heard independently of the admissions of either party in the pleadings or otherwise.

3. Process or notice in such proceedings shall be served in this Commonwealth by any of the methods prescribed in § 8.01-296 by any person authorized to serve process under § 8.01-293. Service may be made on a nonresident by any of the methods prescribed in § 8.01-296 by any person authorized to serve process under § 8.01-320.

4. In cases where such suits have been commenced and an appearance has been made on behalf of the defendant by counsel, then notices to take depositions and of hearings, motions, and other proceedings except contempt proceedings, may be served by delivering or mailing a copy to counsel for opposing party, the foot of such notices bearing either acceptance of service or a certificate of counsel in compliance with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. “Counsel for opposing party” shall include a pro se party who (i) has entered a general appearance in person or by filing a pleading or endorsing an order of withdrawal of that party’s counsel, or (ii) has signed a pleading in the case or who has notified the other parties and the clerk that he appears in the case.

5. Costs may be awarded to either party as equity and justice may require.

[Top of the Page]

After the divorce suit is filed in Virginia, the plaintiff (the person who filed the Virginia divorce lawsuit) is responsible for service of process on the other spouse. Just like the filing of the Virginia divorce suit, service of process is governed by statute. Just as with any suit in Virginia, service of process for a divorce lawsuit may be accomplished through personal service, substituted service, or posted service. Additionally, for a Virginia divorce, the party being served may choose to voluntarily accept service of the divorce process.

§ 20-99.1:1. How defendant may accept service; waive service.

A. A defendant in such suits may accept service of process by signing the proof of service before any officer authorized to administer oaths. This proof of service shall, when filed with the papers in the suit, have the same effect as if it had been served upon the defendant by a person authorized to serve process. In addition, service of process may be accepted or waived by any party, upon voluntary execution of a notarized writing specifying an intent to accept or waive any particular process, or by a defendant by filing an answer in the suit. Such notarized writing may be provided in the clerk’s office of any circuit court and may be signed by such party to the proceedings before any clerk or deputy clerk of any circuit court, under oath, or may be drafted and filed by counsel in the proceeding, and shall, when filed with the papers in the suit, have the same effect as if the process specified had been personally served upon the defendant by a person authorized to serve process. The court may enter any order or decree without further notice unless a defendant has filed an answer in the suit.

B. When service is accepted pursuant to this section by a nonresident person out of the Commonwealth, such service shall have the same effect as an order of publication duly executed.

C. Any process served outside the Commonwealth executed in such manner as provided for in this section is validated.

[Top of the Page]

Virginia divorce law states that to file for divorce in Virginia, you must have divorce grounds. Grounds include mental cruelty, physical cruelty and physical abuse, adultery, desertion, and one years’ separation (also known as no fault divorce in Virginia). However, different grounds for divorce in Virginia have different standards of prove. For example, to file for a Virginia divorce based on grounds of adultery requires specific pleadings, unlike in other situations, notice pleading is not enough. Additionally, since Virginia still considers adultery a crime (although criminal prosecution is almost unheard of), during a Virginia divorce proceeding, allegations of adultery are subject to a heightened standard of proof. A Virginia divorce lawyer from our firm can explain the details of you are considering a Virginia divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Similarly, other divorce grounds require specific proof. To obtain a Virginia divorce on the grounds of cruelty requires proof of some overt physical act. Not getting along is simply not enough and in some courts, the concept of “mental cruelty” is treated like an illusion.

Virginia divorce grounds have been codified by statute. The general divorce statute states:

§ 20-91. Grounds for divorce from bond of matrimony; contents of decree.

A. A divorce from the bond of matrimony may be decreed:

(1) For adultery; or for sodomy or buggery committed outside the marriage;

(2) —Repealed.]

(3) Where either of the parties subsequent to the marriage has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to confinement for more than one year and confined for such felony subsequent to such conviction, and cohabitation has not been resumed after knowledge of such confinement (in which case no pardon granted to the party so sentenced shall restore such party to his or her conjugal rights);

(4), (5) —Repealed.]

(6) Where either party has been guilty of cruelty, caused reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willfully deserted or abandoned the other, such divorce may be decreed to the innocent party after a period of one year from the date of such act; or

(7), (8) —Repealed.]

(9) (a) On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year. In any case where the parties have entered into a separation agreement and there are no minor children either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other or adopted by both parties, a divorce may be decreed on application if and when the husband and wife have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months. A plea of res adjudicata or of recrimination with respect to any other provision of this section shall not be a bar to either party obtaining a divorce on this ground; nor shall it be a bar that either party has been adjudged insane, either before or after such separation has commenced, but at the expiration of one year or six months, whichever is applicable, from the commencement of such separation, the grounds for divorce shall be deemed to be complete, and the committee of the insane defendant, if there be one, shall be made a party to the cause, or if there be no committee, then the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the insane defendant.

(b) This subdivision (9) shall apply whether the separation commenced prior to its enactment or shall commence thereafter. Where otherwise valid, any decree of divorce hereinbefore entered by any court having equity jurisdiction pursuant to this subdivision (9), not appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia, is hereby declared valid according to the terms of said decree notwithstanding the insanity of a party thereto.

(c) A decree of divorce granted pursuant to this subdivision (9) shall in no way lessen any obligation any party may otherwise have to support the spouse unless such party shall prove that there exists in the favor of such party some other ground of divorce under this section or § 20-95.

B. A decree of divorce shall include each party’s social security number, or other control number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-342.

However, just like there are grounds for divorce in Virginia, there are defenses against these grounds. For example, marital cohabitation after knowledge of adultery (known as “condonation”) bars the granting of a divorce based on adultery grounds. Connivance and recrimination are also possible defenses against a divorce suit in Virginia. The following statute is extremely important when considering these defenses:

§ 20-94. Effect of cohabitation after knowledge of adultery, sodomy or buggery; lapse of five years.

When the suit is for divorce for adultery, sodomy, or buggery, the divorce shall not be granted, if it appear that the parties voluntarily cohabited after the knowledge of the fact of adultery, sodomy or buggery, or that it occurred more than five years before the institution of the suit, or that it was committed by the procurement or connivance of the party alleging such act.

[Top of the Page]

Perhaps the question that people ask the most is: How do I obtain immediate legal relief when I can’t obtain a Virginia divorce prior to being separated for over a year? Our Virginia divorce lawyers can guide you through the divorce proceedings, including what is called a Pendente Lite hearing. During this hearing, a Virginia judge can make preliminary rulings temporarily resolving important issues such as exclusive possession of the marital home (who has to move out), temporary child custody, temporary child support, temporary spousal support or alimony, non-dissipation of assets (to keep your spouse from emptying the bank accounts, selling, or hiding property while the divorce case is pending. The Pendente Lite statute highlights the Court’s powers when granting temporary relief in Virginia.

§ 20-103. Court may make orders pending suit for divorce, custody or visitation, etc.

A. In suits for divorce, annulment and separate maintenance, and in proceedings arising under subdivision A 3 or subsection L of § 16.1-241, the court having jurisdiction of the matter may, at any time pending a suit pursuant to this chapter, in the discretion of such court, make any order that may be proper (i) to compel a spouse to pay any sums necessary for the maintenance and support of the petitioning spouse, including an order that the other spouse provide health care coverage for the petitioning spouse, unless it is shown that such coverage cannot be obtained, (ii) to enable such spouse to carry on the suit, (iii) to prevent either spouse from imposing any restraint on the personal liberty of the other spouse, (iv) to provide for the custody and maintenance of the minor children of the parties, including an order that either party provide health care coverage for the children, (v) to provide support, calculated in accordance with § 20-108.2, for any child of the parties to whom a duty of support is owed and to continue to support any child over the age of 18 who meets the requirements set forth in subsection C of § 20-124.2, (vi) for the exclusive use and possession of the family residence during the pendency of the suit, (vii) to preserve the estate of either spouse, so that it be forthcoming to meet any decree which may be made in the suit, or (viii) to compel either spouse to give security to abide such decree. The parties to any petition where a child whose custody, visitation, or support is contested shall show proof that they have attended within the 12 months prior to their court appearance or that they shall attend within 45 days thereafter an educational seminar or other like program conducted by a qualified person or organization approved by the court except that the court may require the parties to attend such seminar or program in uncontested cases only if the court finds good cause. The seminar or other program shall be a minimum of four hours in length and shall address the effects of separation or divorce on children, parenting responsibilities, options for conflict resolution and financial responsibilities. Once a party has completed one educational seminar or other like program, the required completion of additional programs shall be at the court’s discretion. Parties under this section shall include natural or adoptive parents of the child, or any person with a legitimate interest as defined in § 20-124.1. The fee charged a party for participation in such program shall be based on the party’s ability to pay; however, no fee in excess of $50 may be charged. Whenever possible, before participating in mediation or alternative dispute resolution to address custody, visitation or support, each party shall have attended the educational seminar or other like program. The court may grant an exemption from attendance of such program for good cause shown or if there is no program reasonably available. Other than statements or admissions by a party admitting criminal activity or child abuse, no statement or admission by a party in such seminar or program shall be admissible into evidence in any subsequent proceeding.

B. In addition to the terms provided in subsection A, upon a showing by a party of reasonable apprehension of physical harm to that party by such party’s family or household member as that term is defined in § 16.1-228, and consistent with rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the court may enter an order excluding that party’s family or household member from the jointly owned or jointly rented family dwelling. In any case where an order is entered under this paragraph, pursuant to an ex parte hearing, the order shall not exclude a family or household member from the family dwelling for a period in excess of 15 days from the date the order is served, in person, upon the person so excluded. The order may provide for an extension of time beyond the 15 days, to become effective automatically. The person served may at any time file a written motion in the clerk’s office requesting a hearing to dissolve or modify the order. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the court from extending an order entered under this subsection for such longer period of time as is deemed appropriate, after a hearing on notice to the parties. If the party subject to the order fails to appear at this hearing, the court may extend the order for a period not to exceed six months.

C. In cases other than those for divorce in which a custody or visitation arrangement for a minor child is sought, the court may enter an order providing for custody, visitation or maintenance pending the suit as provided in subsection A. The order shall be directed to either parent or any person with a legitimate interest who is a party to the suit.

D. Orders entered pursuant to this section which provide for custody or visitation arrangements pending the suit shall be made in accordance with the standards set out in Chapter 6.1 (§ 20-124.1 et seq.) of this title. Orders entered pursuant to subsection B shall be certified by the clerk and forwarded as soon as possible to the local police department or sheriff’s office which shall, on the date of receipt, enter the name of the person subject to the order and other appropriate information required by the Department of State Police into the Virginia crime information network system established and maintained by the Department of State Police pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 52-12 et seq.) of Title 52. If the order is later dissolved or modified, a copy of the dissolution or modification shall also be certified, forwarded and entered in the system as described above.

E. An order entered pursuant to this section shall have no presumptive effect and shall not be determinative when adjudicating the underlying cause.

[Top of the Page]

A Virginia divorce lawyer with our practice is also a tough, fair, and skilled negotiator. As such, we can assist you in preparing and negotiating a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. This agreement, if properly drafted with all the essential contents, may convert your divorce from contested to uncontested. When this happens, the divorce can usually be finalized without the need for litigation and in a manner in which both spouses know up front what will happen to the custody of their children, their support needs, and the distribution of their property.

A Virginia divorce lawyer will provide you with Virginia divorce advice to reduce the difficulties and uncertainties associated with the Virginia divorce process.

Contact a Virginia divorce lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Virginia Felony

Virginia Felony

Virginia Felonies are classified as follows:

Class 1 felonies – death, or imprisonment for life and a fine of up to $100,000.

Class 2 felonies – imprisonment for life or a minimum of 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

For Class 3 felonies – imprisonment for five to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000

For Class 4 felonies – imprisonment for two to 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

Class 5 felonies – imprisonment for one to 10 years or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.

Class 6 felonies – imprisonment for one to five years or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.

Some commonly charged felonies in Virginia include:

* Murder
* Malicious wounding
* Armed robbery, grand larceny, and other serious theft crimes
* Possession or distribution of drugs
* Third offense of Domestic assault (3rd offense or greater)
* Felony DWI

Contact a Virginia felony defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Sex Crimes

Virginia Sex Crimes Defense

A Virginia sex crime defense lawyer can help you to protect your rights if you are accused of a Virginia sex crime. Common Virginia sex crime charges include:

* Rape
* Child Molestation
* Date Rape
* Indecent Exposure
* Sexual Battery
* Solicitation of a Minor
* Spousal Rape
* Statutory Rape
* Possession of Child Pornography

Contact a Virginia sex crime defense lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Sex Crimes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Theft Crimes

Virginia Theft Crimes Defense

In Virginia you may be charged with one or more of a variety of theft crimes. Perhaps the most common theft crime in Virginia is shoplifting, which is considered as petit larceny if the value of the item is less than $200.00 or grand larceny if the value of the item exceeds $200.00.

As with every criminal prosecution in Virginia, the prosecution must prove the elements of a Virginia theft crime beyond reasonable doubt. We will hold the prosecution to this high standard. Our Virginia theft crime defense attorneys specialize in providing an aggressive defense against the following Virginia theft crimes:

* Petit larceny, also called petty larceny
* Grand larceny
* Shoplifting
* Robbery
* Auto theft / Carjacking
* Burglary
* Embezzlement
* Fraud
* Credit card fraud
* Employee theft
* Money laundering

Petit larceny, also called petty larceny in Virginia

You may be facing charges of petit larceny if you are accused of stealing an item from a person (basically snatching something away from somebody else) if the item is worth less than five dollars. You may also be charged with petit larceny of you are accused of stealing an item without taking item directly from the other person if the value of the item is worth less than two hundred dollars. Petit larceny is a Class one misdemeanor. If the accusation involves taking an item worth more than five dollars from the person or stealing an item worth more than two hundred dollars not directly from the person, the charge will be grand larceny, a felony.

§ 18.2-96. Petit larceny defined; how punished.

Any person who:

1. Commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of less than $5, or

2. Commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of less than $200, except as provided in subdivision (iii) of § 18.2-95, shall be deemed guilty of petit larceny, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

[ Back to top ]

Grand larceny

Grand larceny is a serious criminal accusation. If you are charged with grand larceny in Virginia, you are facing the possibility of spending up to twenty years in prison. Grand larceny involves taking an item worth more than five dollars from the person or stealing an item worth more than two hundred dollars not directly from the person. If you are convicted of grand larceny in Virginia, the judge or jury has the option of sentencing up to the range of a class one misdemeanor, but in Virginia, you probably will not get such leniency from a jury.

§ 18.2-95. Grand larceny defined; how punished.

Any person who (i) commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of $5 or more, (ii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of $200 or more, or (iii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of any firearm, regardless of the firearm’s value, shall be guilty of grand larceny, punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than twenty years or, in the discretion of the jury or court trying the case without a jury, be confined in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or fined not more than $2,500, either or both.

[ Back to top ]

Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a form of larceny and perhaps the most common larceny charge in Virginia. Every day, department stores, specialty stores, electronic shops, and other commercial establishments in Virginia stop people and accuse them of stealing merchandise. Sometimes the accusations arise from innocent placement of merchandise somewhere in a shopping basket with the intention to pay for the item. However, when the person inadvertently forgets to pay for the item, the store in Virginia accuses the person of purposely hiding or concealing the merchandise with the intent to steal it. Sometimes good people make the mistake of falling to the temptation of trying to take an item from a store. Whatever the case may be, a charge of shoplifting, whether petit larceny or grand larceny must be taken seriously and defended against smartly and aggressively.

§ 18.2-103. Concealing or taking possession of merchandise; altering price tags; transferring goods from one container to another; counseling, etc., another in performance of such acts.

Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another’s use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise, (i) willfully conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alters the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfers the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsels, assists, aids or abets another in the performance of any of the above acts, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200, shall be guilty of petit larceny and, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is $200 or more, shall be guilty of grand larceny. The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise.

[ Back to top ]

Robbery

§18.2-58. Robbery; How punished.

If any person commit robbery by partial strangulation, or suffocation, or by striking or beating, or by other violence to the person, or by assault or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm, or by the threat or presenting of firearms, or other deadly weapon or instrumentality whatsoever, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in a state correctional facility for life or any term not less than five years.

[ Back to top ]

Auto theft / Carjacking

§ 18.2-58.1. Carjacking; penalty A. Any person who commits carjacking, as herein defined, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or a term not less than fifteen years.

B. As used in this section, “carjacking” means the intentional seizure or seizure of control of a motor vehicle of another with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive another in possession or control of the vehicle of that possession or control by means of partial strangulation, or suffocation, or by striking or beating, or by other violence to the person, or by assault or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm, or by the threat or presenting of firearms, or other deadly weapon or instrumentality whatsoever. “Motor vehicle” shall have the same meaning as set forth in § 46.2-100.

C. The provisions of this section shall not preclude the applicability of any other provision of the criminal law of the Commonwealth which may apply to any course of conduct which violates this section.

[ Back to top ]

Burglary

§ 18.2-89. Burglary; how punished.

If any person break and enter the dwelling house of another in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony or any larceny therein, he shall be guilty of burglary, punishable as a Class 3 felony; provided, however, that if such person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

[ Back to top ]

Embezzlement

§ 18.2-111. Embezzlement deemed larceny; indictment. [ Back to top ]

If any person wrongfully and fraudulently use, dispose of, conceal or embezzle any money, bill, note, check, order, draft, bond, receipt, bill of lading or any other personal property, tangible or intangible, which he shall have received for another or for his employer, principal or bailor, or by virtue of his office, trust, or employment, or which shall have been entrusted or delivered to him by another or by any court, corporation or company, he shall be guilty of embezzlement. Proof of embezzlement shall be sufficient to sustain the charge of larceny. Any person convicted hereunder shall be deemed guilty of larceny and may be indicted as for larceny and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in § 18.2-95 or § 18.2-96.

[ Back to top ]

Fraud [ Back to top ]

Credit card fraud [ Back to top ]

Employee theft [ Back to top ]

Money laundering [ Back to top ]

We investigate Virginia theft charges thoroughly and develop our trial strategy accordingly. As your Virginia theft crime defense lawyer, we will leave no stone unturned when protecting your rights and your freedom.

Contact a Virginia theft crime defense lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

Posted in Virginia Crimes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment