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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Is social media destroying your marriage?

The explosion of social media platforms in recent decades offers a variety of ways for people to connect throughout Virginia, across the country and around the world. Social media is responsible for the reunion of old friends, for adopted children finding their birth parents and for family members remaining close despite the many miles between them. Families can stay connected to loved ones who are deployed with the armed services, and many married couples even credit social media for bringing them together.

Unfortunately, social media is also the source of conflict and tension between many couples. In fact, up to 25% of couples in one survey admitted that social media arouses jealousy, suspicion and arguments between them. Family law attorneys all over the country are noticing more and more divorces stemming from social media addiction. If you feel that social media is creating an irreparable breach between you and your spouse, you are not alone.

Securing retirement benefits in a military divorce

It can be hard to think too far into the future when going through a divorce. After all, there is already so much to think about, like finding a new place to live or figuring out child custody. But you could be missing out on your opportunity to create a financially secure retirement. Here is what you should know about dividing retirement pay in a military divorce.

Most divorcing couples have to split up retirement savings, but you will face unique challenges.  Your soon-to-be ex's retirement benefits are not something you can just portion out between the two of you at the time of divorce. Your ex will not directly send over your share of benefits, either. Instead, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will do so.

When can I deny my ex visitation with our child?

If you are divorced or separated from your child's other parent, it may go without saying that you don't always get along. In fact, there may be very bad feelings between you and your former partner that make it a challenge to co-parent. However, your difficulties with your co-parent should not affect your custody schedule. As tempted as you may be to deny your ex access to your child, you should understand that doing so may result in negative consequences for you.

Refusing to allow your child to go with his or her parent simply because you are upset or angry with your ex can be a big mistake. Family courts do not look kindly on parents who use their children to punish each other. While there may be legitimate reasons for keeping your child home from your ex's house, you would be wise to seek legal advice before taking matters into your own hands.

Dennis M. Hottell Has Joined Maddox And Gerock, P.C.

Our newest Senior Counsel member Dennis M. Hottell, founder of Hottell Family Law Group, has joined forces with Maddox & Gerock, P.C., to provide unparalleled legal services to families in Falls Church and the surrounding area.

In addition to the skilled representation and dedication we give all of our clients, we believe the acquisition of Hottell Family Law Group will help us better provide individualized representation and creative solutions to the families were serve.

Tips for successful co-parenting after a divorce

Virginia parents who are going through a divorce might worry about how it will affect their children. Maintaining a functional co-parenting relationship is possible, but it requires the parties to try to work together.

Birthdays and holidays can be tough for children. Instead of having them go to two different events, one for each parent, parents may want to consider simply having one where they are together. One advantage is that this prepares parents to be together at events that will only happen once, such as weddings. However, even if parents are not yet ready for this level of togetherness, they can try to support the child's relationship with the other parent. This includes listening when the child has issues with the other parent and helping the child with the relationship in the same way the parent would with another family member. Children must never be made to feel as though they have to choose between their parents.

Handling IRAs during divorce property division

In Virginia and across the country, the divorce rate is declining. However, there is one significant exception: Couples age 50 and up are actually more likely to divorce than they were in the past. This is important not only because it reflects changing social norms but also because of the financial effects of the end of a marriage. When people divorce later in life, they have fewer years to recover from the blow of property division. In many cases, retirement accounts are some of the largest assets held by the couple.

In addition to negotiating a fair settlement in the property division process, splitting retirement accounts comes with its own complexities. In most cases, retirement accounts are marital assets regardless of whose name is on the fund; both spouses may have assets subject to division, or the entire account may be held in one person's name. When dividing an employment-based account like a pension plan or 401(k), specific rules must be followed. These qualified plans require a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO, a specialized court order directing specifically how the distribution is to take place.

Divorce filings spike after the holiday season


The holidays are usually a time of year when families set aside their differences and come together to celebrate whatever is most important to them. As a result, the season is usually full of fun and cheer. However, many Virginians struggle through the holidays because they feel trapped in bad marriages. Even those who want to seek a divorce often choose to put off the action during this time of year so as not to disrupt family dynamics and seemingly ruin what would otherwise be a festive period of time.

In fact, putting off divorce until January is a common tactic taken by individuals, and it has led to January being dubbed "Divorce Month" by some family law experts. One need only look at online search frequencies and social media topics to see that interest in divorce spikes in late December and early January.

Timberlake's marriage illustrates importance of lifestyle clauses


If you follow celebrity news at all then you know that the marriage between famed singer Justin Timberlake and actress Jessica Biel may be on the rocks. Reports indicate that Timberlake was recently seen at a bar with a co-star of an upcoming film, with the two of them apparently holding hands and otherwise acting as if they are in some sort of romantic relationship.

Even for those who don't follow celebrity news, the story serves as an illustration of the importance of a prenuptial agreement because Timberlake's actions, if indeed classified as infidelity, could be costly.

How parental substance abuse can affect child custody


Although child custody disputes that play out in court are meant to find an arrangement that supports the best interests of the children involved, oftentimes they devolve into presentations meant to cast the other parent in as unfavorable of a light as possible.

The two issues are not completely separate, though. Parents may have to point out the other parent's faults, if only to highlight how a proposed custody and visitation plan is not in the child's best interests.

Virtual visitation as an option for Virginia families


People are incredibly busy. Individuals who balance jobs, families, and other important commitments are often juggling many different responsibilities at once and working hard to keep the needs of themselves and others met.

When a person goes through the difficult process of divorce, their lives may become even more complicated if they must work around the child custody and visitation schedules of their kids. Although there are no greater responsibilities than those that a parent has to their child, staying connected to one's child during and after a divorce can be a challenge.

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