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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

Seek legal advice in parental relocation cases

Divorce is a major life event. However, even after parents in Virginia finalize their divorce, life has its twists and turns. Sometimes a parent who has custody of a child wants to move to a different part of Virginia, to a different state or even abroad. Parents may have good reasons for wanting to move. Perhaps they received a lucrative job offer that will afford them a better lifestyle, or perhaps they want to live closer to family so they and their child can form stronger bonds with their relations.

The question that then arises is what are the noncustodial parent's rights if the custodial parent wants to move away? The noncustodial parent still has visitation rights and deserves to be an important part of the child's life. A noncustodial parent might object to the move.

What property division issues arise in a 'gray divorce'?

Sometimes a divorce doesn't happen while a couple is still young and naive. Sometimes couples in Virginia who have been together for decades may find themselves in an unhappy marriage. There may be a certain breaking point in their marriage, such as an affair, or they may simply have grown apart over the years. However, when couples aged 50 and up decide to end their marriage -- an act known as a "gray divorce," - they may face issues younger couples do not, especially with regards to retirement.

Older couples may not have to worry about child custody or child support if their children are all grown adults. However, property division in a gray divorce can be more complex than it is for younger couples. If a couple is dividing an IRA or a 401(k), they must abide by certain rules to avoid financial penalties or unexpected tax consequences. Dividing annuities can also be difficult. In these situations, spouses who want to retain an annuity may have to do so in exchange for something of equal value, since cashing out an annuity can reduce its worth.

The way taxes and spousal support relate could soon change

If you have been pondering divorce, a tax bill being considered by Congress could be the incentive you need to make a decision. If passed, a key tax deduction related to divorce would go away.

Currently, divorced people in Virginia and around the country may deduct the amount they pay in spousal support from their federal income taxes. The tax bill would eliminate that deduction, according to The New York Times.

Deploying parents have child custody and visitation rights

Serving in our nation's military is a brave and noble act. However, being on active military duty can be taxing on a person's relationship with their spouse, and sometimes, this leads to divorce. When a military parent divorces, a child custody and visitation order will be made. But, how is this order treated if a military parent is deployed?

Under Virginia Code ยง20-124.8, when a military parent is deployed, her or she may move the court to delegate his or her visitation time to a member of the child's family (including a stepparent). This individual must have a relationship with the child that is both close and substantial. If the court determines that such a delegation is in the child's best interests, then the judge can enter the following orders.

More millennials are executing prenuptial agreements, survey says

Summer is a popular time for weddings, but couples in Virginia who are planning their upcoming nuptials may also want to consider the possible paths their life may take after wedding bells ring. One way they can prepare for future possibilities is by executing a premarital (prenuptial) agreement prior to walking down the aisle. In a premarital agreement, couples can address financial issues they may face if they divorce.

For example, what assets will remain the separate property of each spouse and how marital assets will be divided between the spouses can be laid out in a premarital agreement. Premarital agreements can also lay out whether spousal maintenance will be paid, and if so, in what amount. One might expect that older couples, perhaps marrying for a second time, can benefit from a premarital agreement since they have accumulated a significant amount of assets over the years. However, a survey of matrimonial lawyers indicates that young adults, also known as "millennials" are increasingly seeing the benefits of executing a premarital agreement.

What are the basics of child support in Virginia?

Most parents going through a divorce want to see that their child's financial needs are supported. Some of these needs are basic, such as food and a roof. Some of these needs go beyond that, and may include medical expenses, insurance and other activities. When a child's parents divorce, the court will usually order one parent to pay child support to cover the costs associated with raising the child. Therefore, it is important to have a basic understanding of child support.

Virginia law contain guidelines for how much child support a court should award. The formula itself is complex, and factors in each parent's income and the average amount parents who are married will spend raising a child. Either parent can be responsible for paying child support, depending on their respective incomes and the child's needs. Primarily, the court will consider each parent's income, who has custody of the child, how much is spent on medical insurance for the child and any Social Security benefits the child receives.

Determining whether an asset is separate or marital in a divorce

Many people in Virginia will spend a lifetime accumulating a wide variety of assets. Some of the assets may be financially valuable, while other assets hold more sentimental value. Some of these assets were obtained before a person got married, while others were obtained during the course of the marriage. However, the classification of property as either marital or separate is essential when it comes to property division in a divorce. This is because separate property will be retained by the party that owns it, while marital property will be divided between the spouses.

In Virginia, marital property is that which is acquired from the day the couple was married until the day the couple separated. Both parties jointly own marital property, even if a deed or account is in one party's name only. In Virginia, marital assets will be divided via "equitable distribution." This means division will be fair, but may not necessarily be equal.

Be honest in online dating during a divorce

Online dating is a common way to find a partner nowadays. People going through a divorce may see online dating profiles as a simpler way to get back into the dating scene. However, it may be wise to wait until all court proceedings for your former marriage are behind you before you venture back into dating.

If your divorce or custody agreement is still ongoing, your social media accounts may be fair game for your former partner. This includes any dating profiles you use, so you need to be aware of all your online activity during this time.

How can collaborative law help couples going through a divorce?

When a couple in Virginia is going through a divorce, they may be mentally preparing themselves for a lengthy and adversarial trial in which there is a "winner" and a "loser." Litigation can be stressful, especially since in the end the spouses do not have a say in the final outcome, and must abide by the judge's decision, whether they like it or not. Therefore, couples may be interested in pursuing negotiations out-of-court to resolve their divorce legal issues. One way they can do this is through collaborative law.

In a collaborative divorce, each party will be represented by an attorney and all will agree to try to negotiate a settlement, rather than litigating it. The attorneys will serve as facilitators for the spouses as they discuss together how their concerns and interests with regards to their divorce legal issues. The ultimate goal is to reach a settlement that both parties are satisfied with. If an agreement cannot be reached, the attorneys must bow out of the case, and the spouses will need to hire new attorneys as they move forward with litigation. In this way, both the spouses and their attorneys have an incentive to reach a settlement agreement together.

High net worth couples face unique divorce legal issues

Some couples in Virginia are fortunate enough to have accumulated a great deal of assets during the course of their marriage. They may own a business, multiple homes, bank accounts, investments, stocks, retirement accounts and other valuable assets. At least one, if not both, spouse may have a lucrative career. However, should their marriage not last, high net worth couples face certain divorce legal issues that others do not.

For example, property division can become very complicated in a high-asset divorce, as can spousal maintenance. The couple may be accustomed to living a certain lifestyle, and this will need to be taken into account. In addition, dividing assets must be done in a manner that is fair to each spouse. Tracking down and placing a valuation on all a high net worth couple's assets can be challenging, but it needs to be done for the property division process to be successful.

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Maddox & Gerock, P.C.
8111 Gatehouse Road
Suite 410
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: 703-883-8035
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