Tag Archives: Virginia Child Custody

Virginia Child Custody FAQ

Virginia Child Custody – Frequently Asked Questions

Our clients present us with many questions related to Virginia child custody laws. Some of these include:

How does a Virginia Court decide custody cases?

What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?

What is joint custody and what is sole custody?

Are the mother’s child custody rights superior to the father’s?

Are written child custody or parenting agreements valid?

I am the custodial parent. Can I withhold visitation from the non-custodial parent?

My visitation rights are being withheld. What do I need to do to enforce visitation?

What visitation rights do I have as a stepparent or as a former stepmother or stepfather?

What are the grandparents’ custody / visitation rights?

How does family abuse affect child custody arrangements?

How does the relocation of the custodial parent affect child custody?

I am facing criminal charges, but am innocent. How does this situation affect my Virginia child custody case?

How does a Virginia Court decide custody cases? [ Back to top ]

A Virginia court decides child custody according to the “best interests of the child.” There are many factors and circumstances that the court will evaluate when deciding whether to award custody to the mother or to the father. Some important child custody considerations in Virginia include:

• The age of the child • The physical and mental condition of the child • The child’s changing developmental needs • The age and physical and mental condition of each parent • The relationship between each parent and the child • Each parent’s positive involvement with the child’s life • Each parent’s ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child. • Other important relationships of the child, such as siblings and extended family members • Each parent’s role in the upbringing and care of the child • The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent • Whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access or visitation with the child • The ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child • The reasonable preference of the child, if the child is of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference • Any history of family abuse • Other factors that may be presented to the court to assist the judge to determine the best interests of the child.

Our Virginia child custody attorneys apply their legal knowledge to provide you counsel before, during, and even after your custody case is decided. Consulting with a high-quality Virginia child custody lawyer can make a big difference. As a result of the stress created by divorce or child custody issues, sometimes you may rush into making decisions that may not be in the best interests of your children or in your own best interests. An early initial consultation with our Virginia child custody attorneys will help you make smarter and better decisions always keeping in mind the best interests of your family.

What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody? [ Back to top ]

Legal custody concerns the ability to make medical, educational, and religious decisions involving the children. Physical custody concerns where the children reside. Therefore, parents may have joint legal custody, with one parent having primary physical custody and the other parent having visitation.

What is joint custody and what is sole custody? [ Back to top ]

Are the mother’s child custody rights superior to the father’s?

The short answer is no. Under Virginia law, when deciding a child custody case in Virginia, the judge must base the child custody decision on factors such as gender. However, the relationship established between each parent and the child is given significant weight.

When one parent stays home with a young child, the court may take the bond established between the parent and the child into consideration when determining child custody. However, the court must consider all the child custody factors given due weight to each factor. Some factors may override others. Obviously if the mother stays home to raise the child, all other things being equal, the mother would have the upper hand in a Virginia child custody dispute. However, if the mother does not support the relationship of the children with the father (or vice versa), this factor may override any advantage created by the “stay at home” parent advantage. Similarly, if a parent has a history of illegal drug use, chemical or alcohol dependency, physical or sexual abuse, mental disorder, or other factors, the applicable child custody analysis in Virginia may weigh towards the other parent.

Regardless, child custody decisions involve a careful analysis of the situation and a factoring of the statutory child support factors. Neither party holds an advantage based solely on gender for the purpose of determining child custody in Virginia.

Are written child custody or parenting agreements valid?

The answer to whether a parenting agreement is valid is not a clear yes or no. A child custody agreement is interpreted under contract laws… However, the Court is not bound by the parties’ agreement regarding the custody of the children. The standard for the court to follow when deciding a child custody case in Virginia is the best interests of the child, not the parents’ wishes. Therefore, a parenting or child custody agreement is generally a binding contract…. so long as the parties can convince the court that the agreement is in the child’s best interests.

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).

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Attorney D. Rivera

Virginia Lawyers

Attorney Domingo J. Rivera, MBA, Litigation Specialist (Managing Partner)

Mr. Domingo Rivera is an attorney admitted to practice in Virginia . His unique qualifications and excellent litigation skills and experience combined with his language skills places him in a unique position to be a valuable asset to every client he represents.

Mr. Rivera serves as lead counsel arguing cases in court, filing pleadings, and negotiating settlements. He has presented cases at virtually all levels of the Virginia Courts system from the General District Courts to the Court of Appeals and in the federal courts.

Prior to attending law school, Mr. Rivera completed a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and an M.B.A. He is also fluent in speaking and reading Spanish.

As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, he was entrusted with the responsibility for several complex high-tech projects. One of these projects was the construction of the Homeland Security Headquarters in Virginia , a multi-million dollar state-of-the art facility and one of the most important projects in the Department of Defense. In addition, Mr. Rivera also served as the Assistant Resident Engineer in Charge of Contracts at the Norfolk Naval Station. These positions of trust required Mr. Rivera to maintain a Top Secret Clearance.

Mr. Rivera has been featured as a legal commentator nationally and internationally, including interviews with the BBC with audience of over 130 million people. Mr. Rivera’s cases have been reported in many publications, including the Washington Post and the Mount Vernon News.

When you demand excellence in legal counseling as well aggressive and effective courtroom skills, Mr. Rivera can be your attorney of choice. He can provide you with legal advice, from deciding whether to pursue litigation to the jury trial.

Contact attorney Domingo J. Rivera

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

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Virginia Computer Crimes

Virginia Computer Crime Defense

If you are accused of a Virginia computer crime or a Virginia Internet sex crime, we can offer truly unique representation. Based on our research, attorney Domingo Rivera is the only criminal defense attorney in Virginia with a professional degree and experience in Computer Engineering, an M.B.A. with specialty in Information Technology, and experience with the Department of Defense. Mr. Rivera is competent in the legal, technical, and computer forensics aspects related to Virginia computer crimes or Internet crime accusations. To represent you properly, your defense lawyer must not only be well versed in trial techniques but must also be able to command the subject matter underlying computer and Internet crime accusations.

Contact a Virginia computer 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

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Virginia Driving On Suspended License

Virginia Driving with a Suspended License, Driving Without License, and other License Related Offenses

In Virginia, Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a potential maximum of one year in jail, $2,500.00 in fines, civil remedial fees, and driver’s license suspension. A conviction of driving without a license is a class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Some of the issues we handle include:

* Driving with a Suspended License
* Driving Without a License
* Impoundment of vehicle (administrative or judicial)
* Driving with a foreign driver’s license

In Virginia, Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License is a serious traffic charge. These charges frequently arise when somebody’s driver’s license is suspended for failure to pay fines resulting from a traffic infraction or from a DMV administrative suspension. To support a conviction for driving on a revoked or suspended license in Virginia, the Commonwealth must also show that the Defendant had notice of the suspension.

A conviction of driving on a suspended license may carry with it an additional period of suspension, maybe up to an additional year. This may in turn become another charge of driving on a suspended license if you need to drive at any time during that year… the third time a mandatory minimum jail sentence applies.

A competent Virginia lawyer can provide you with assistance if you are accused of driving on a suspended license. Our firm will analyze your particular case, talk to the police officer who gave you the driving on a suspended license ticket, discuss your case with the prosecuting attorney…. then advise you to enter into a negotiated resolution or go through with trial.

The Virginia Driving on a suspended license statute states:

§ 46.2-301. Driving while license, permit, or privilege to drive suspended or revoked A. In addition to any other penalty provided by this section, any motor vehicle administratively impounded or immobilized under the provisions of § 46.2-301.1 may, in the discretion of the court, be impounded or immobilized for an additional period of up to ninety days upon conviction of an offender for driving while his driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for (i) a violation of §§ 18.2-36.1, 18.2-51.4, 18.2-266 or § 46.2-341.24 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction or (ii) driving after adjudication as an habitual offender, where such adjudication was based in whole or in part on an alcohol-related offense, or where such person’s license has been administratively suspended under the provisions of § 46.2-391.2. However, if, at the time of the violation, the offender was driving a motor vehicle owned by another person, the court shall have no jurisdiction over such motor vehicle but may order the impoundment or immobilization of a motor vehicle owned solely by the offender at the time of arrest. All costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage expenses, shall be paid by the offender prior to the release of his motor vehicle.

B. Except as provided in §§ 46.2-304 and 46.2-357, no resident or nonresident (i) whose driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked or (ii) who has been directed not to drive by any court, by the Commissioner, or by operation of law pursuant to this title or (iii) who has been forbidden, as prescribed by law, by the Commissioner, the State Corporation Commission, the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner, any court, or the Superintendent of State Police, to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth shall thereafter drive any motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment on any highway in the Commonwealth until the period of such suspension or revocation has terminated. A clerk’s notice of suspension of license for failure to pay fines or costs given in accordance with § 46.2-395 shall be sufficient notice for the purpose of maintaining a conviction under this section. For the purposes of this section, the phrase “motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment” shall not include mopeds.

C. A first or second offense of violating this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. A third or subsequent offense shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a minimum, mandatory term of confinement in jail of ten days which shall not be suspended in whole or in part. However, the court shall not be required to impose a minimum, mandatory term of confinement in any case where a motor vehicle is operated in violation of this section in a situation of apparent extreme emergency which requires such operation to save life or limb.

In addition, the court shall suspend the person’s driver’s license for the same period for which it had been previously suspended or revoked when the person violated this section.

D. In the event the person has violated this section by driving during a period of suspension or revocation which was not for a definite period of time, the court shall suspend the person’s license, permit or privilege to drive for an additional period not to exceed ninety days. Any additional suspension ordered under the provisions of this section shall commence upon the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation unless the previous suspension or revocation has expired prior to the ordering of an additional suspension or revocation.

Additionally, if you are caught driving with a suspended license in Virginia or allow someone else to drive your vehicle with a suspended license in Virginia, your vehicle may be impounded. The statute reads:

§ 46.2-301.1. Administrative impoundment of motor vehicle for certain driving while license suspended or revoked offenses; judicial impoundment upon conviction; penalty for permitting violation with one’s vehicle.

A. The motor vehicle being driven by any person (i) whose driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for a violation of § 18.2-51.4 or driving while under the influence in violation of § 18.2-266, 46.2-341.24 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction; (ii) driving after adjudication as an habitual offender, where such adjudication was based in whole or in part on an alcohol-related offense, or where such person’s license has been administratively suspended under the provisions of § 46.2-391.2; or (iii) driving after such person’s driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for unreasonable refusal of tests in violation of § 18.2-268.3, 46.2-341.26:3 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction, shall be impounded or immobilized by the arresting law-enforcement officer at the time the person is arrested for driving after his driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive has been so revoked or suspended. The impoundment or immobilization shall be for a period of 30 days.

The arresting officer, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, shall serve notice of the impoundment upon the arrested person. The notice shall include information on the person’s right to petition for review of the impoundment pursuant to subsection B. A copy of the notice of impoundment shall be delivered to the magistrate and thereafter promptly forwarded to the clerk of the general district court of the jurisdiction where the arrest was made. Transmission of the notice may be by electronic means.

At least five days prior to the expiration of the period of impoundment imposed pursuant to this section or § 46.2-301, the clerk shall provide the offender with information on the location of the motor vehicle and how and when the vehicle will be released.

All reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal and storage expenses, shall be paid by the offender prior to the release of his motor vehicle. Notwithstanding the above, where the arresting law-enforcement officer discovers that the vehicle was being rented or leased from a vehicle renting or leasing company, the officer shall not impound the vehicle or continue the impoundment but shall notify the rental or leasing company that the vehicle is available for pickup and shall notify the clerk if the clerk has previously been notified of the impoundment.

B. Any driver who is the owner of the motor vehicle that is impounded or immobilized under subsection A may, during the period of the impoundment, petition the general district court of the jurisdiction in which the arrest was made to review that impoundment. The court shall review the impoundment within the same time period as the court hears an appeal from an order denying bail or fixing terms of bail or terms of recognizance, giving this matter precedence over all other matters on its docket. If the person proves to the court by a preponderance of the evidence that the arresting law-enforcement officer did not have probable cause for the arrest, or that the magistrate did not have probable cause to issue the warrant, the court shall rescind the impoundment. Upon rescission, the motor vehicle shall be released and the Commonwealth shall pay or reimburse the person for all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage costs paid or incurred by him. Otherwise, the court shall affirm the impoundment. If the person requesting the review fails to appear without just cause, his right to review shall be waived.

The court’s findings are without prejudice to the person contesting the impoundment or to any other potential party as to any proceedings, civil or criminal, and shall not be evidence in any proceedings, civil or criminal.

C. The owner or co-owner of any motor vehicle impounded or immobilized under subsection A who was not the driver at the time of the violation, may petition the general district court in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred for the release of his motor vehicle. The motor vehicle shall be released if the owner or co-owner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he (i) did not know that the offender’s driver’s license was suspended or revoked when he authorized the offender to drive such motor vehicle or (ii) did not consent to the operation of the motor vehicle by the offender. If the owner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his immediate family has only one motor vehicle and will suffer a substantial hardship if that motor vehicle is impounded or immobilized for 30 days, the court, in its discretion, may release the vehicle after some period of less than 30 days.

D. Notwithstanding any provision of this section, a subsequent dismissal or acquittal of the charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license shall result in an immediate rescission of the impoundment or immobilization provided in subsection A. Upon rescission, the motor vehicle shall be released and the Commonwealth shall pay or reimburse the person for all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage costs, incurred or paid by him.

E. Any person who knowingly authorizes the operation of a motor vehicle by a person he knows has had his driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle suspended or revoked for any of the reasons set forth in subsection A, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

F. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or § 46.2-301, nothing in this section shall impede or infringe upon a valid lienholder’s rights to cure a default under an existing security agreement. Furthermore, such lienholder shall not be liable for any cost of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage expenses which may accrue pursuant to the provisions of this section or § 46.2-301. In the event a lienholder repossesses or removes a vehicle from storage pursuant to an existing security agreement, the Commonwealth shall pay all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal and storage expenses, to any person or entity providing such services to the Commonwealth, except to the extent such costs or expenses have already been paid by the offender to such person or entity. Such payment shall be made within seven calendar days after a request is made by such person or entity to the Commonwealth for payment. Nothing herein, however, shall relieve the offender from liability to the Commonwealth for reimbursement or payment of all such reasonable costs and expenses.

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Driving without a driver’s license in Virginia is also a serious crime. Although the first conviction is a class 2 misdemeanor, a second or subsequent conviction of driving without a license in Virginia is a class one misdemeanor. The message is clear. Drive without a license and you may go to jail regardless of the quality of your driving! The statute prohibiting driving without a license in Virginia states:

§ 46.2-300. Driving without license prohibited; penalties.

No person, except those expressly exempted in §§ 46.2-303 through 46.2-308, shall drive any motor vehicle on any highway in the Commonwealth until such person has applied for a driver’s license, as provided in this article, satisfactorily passed the examination required by § 46.2-325, and obtained a driver’s license, nor unless the license is valid.

A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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Many people get pulled over and charged with driving without a license. However, Virginia law provides protection to people who have a valid foreign diver’s license. However, asserting the protection provided under the law may be tricky at times. Our attorneys can assist you in sorting out this mess. Some of the statutes addressing driving with a foreign driver’s license in Virginia state:

§ 46.2-307. Nonresidents licensed under laws of home state or country; extension of reciprocal privileges.

A. A nonresident over the age of sixteen years and three months who has been duly licensed as a driver under a law requiring the licensing of drivers in his home state or country and who has in his immediate possession a driver’s license issued to him in his home state or country shall be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth.

B. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the Commissioner, with the consent of the Governor, may extend to nonresidents from foreign countries the same driver’s licensing privileges which are granted by the foreign country, or political subdivision wherein such nonresidents are residents, to residents of this Commonwealth residing in such foreign country or political subdivision.

C. Driver’s license privileges may be extended to nonresidents from foreign countries or political subdivisions who are over the age of sixteen years and three months, have been duly licensed as drivers under a law requiring the licensing of drivers in their home country or political subdivision, and have in their immediate possession a driver’s license issued to them in their home country or political subdivision.

§ 46.2-308. Temporary exemption for new resident licensed under laws of another state; privately owned vehicle driver’s licenses.

A resident over the age of sixteen years and three months who has been duly licensed as a driver under a law of another state or country requiring the licensing of drivers shall, for the first sixty days of his residency in the Commonwealth, be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth.

Persons to whom military privately-owned vehicle driver’s licenses have been issued by the Department of Defense shall, for the first sixty days of their residency in the Commonwealth, be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive motor vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth.

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Our Virginia driving on revoked or suspended license defense lawyers will provide you with a defense if you are accused of driving on a suspended or revoked license in Virginia.

Contact a driving on suspended or revoked license Virginia 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

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