Friday, April 30, 2010

proof of income -

proof of income -

Do I need a lawyer if the mother does'nt want anything to do with the children -

Do I need a lawyer if the mother does'nt want anything to do with the children -

Tips For Child Support Recipients

1. Document every single payment. Keep a calendar showing when and how you received your payment.
2. Stay ahead of your budget. Oftentimes people who pay support send the payments late. This can wreak havoc with the timely payment of bills. To avoid this, structure your budget so you don’t depend upon that check to arrive in a timely manner.
3. If you receive the payment by check, negotiate it immediately.
4. Don’t allow the substitution of other payments for support. For example, if the payer buys something the child needs, they might try to deduct it from your payment. This is not permissible. Along the same lines, don’t ask the payer to buy something for the child and deduct it from the support payment. This might seem easy at the time, but it can lead to confusion and sets a bad precedent.
5. Don’t ask the children to pick up the support payment, and don’t allow the payer to send the support payments through the children. This places the children in the middle. Find ways to discourage this conduct.
6. Don’t withhold visitation in retaliation for non payment of support. Family Law requires a person seeking help from the court to have "done right" themselves. Its called "the clean hands doctrine."
7. Don’t react angrily if a payment is not received on the exact day it is due. Most courts allow a little time leeway and getting angry only antagonizes the payer and encourages retaliation. Instead, send a gentle request for payment by email or text. If payment is ten day’s late, a letter formally requesting payment might be in order. If that is not successful, consult your lawyer.
8. Be careful about allowing voluntary reductions of payments. Consult a lawyer before you do.
9. If you allow your child to spend protracted periods of time with the payer, a court may not enforce your right to support. Before allowing for significant deviations in visitation from the Order, consult your lawyer.
10. Support can be "modified" where there are substantial changes in circumstances. You should check with a lawyer every couple of years. You should also consult with a lawyer if your child’s needs increase for any reason. If you have information the payer’s income has increased, consult a lawyer.
11. If either party has moved to another State, check with an attorney about the nature and extent of laws in the new state to see if rights or obligations may have changed.
12. Don’t discuss support with a child. When a child asks for money or payment for something, don’t respond, "I don’t have the money because your father has not sent his support check yet!" This harms the children.
From Mark Chinn Blog

My exhusband who I share joint custody with is trying to take our 8 year old son to Puerto Rico for 10 days -

My exhusband who I share joint custody with is trying to take our 8 year old son to Puerto Rico for 10 days -

My husband was buying a house before we got married. After getting married if divorced what rights do I have to the house? -

My husband was buying a house before we got married. After getting married if divorced what rights do I have to the house? -

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Military Deployment and Children

Deployment is a fact of life in military families. The sustained periods away from home do have an impact on custody and visitation decisions by the court.

In 2008, the Virginia General Assembly enacted Virginia Code Section 20-124.8 to try to address some of the concerns that were hindering deploying parents in the courts.
This section requires that whenever custody or visitation is changed due to a parent or guardian's deployment that the order state that specifically.

Delays also are a problem in our over-burdened court system. This Code section gives returning servicemembers priority on the docket and requires that their motions to amend custody/visitation orders that were issued on the basis of deployment be heard within 30 days of filing. The hearing on this motion also places the burden of proof on the nondeploying parent or guardian to show that reentry of the former custody or visitation order before deployment is no longer in the child's best interests. This is a change from the usual case where the party filing the motion has the burden of proof.

The ideal situation would be for the parents to be able to have an agreement worked out, without the need for court intervention. If they cannot, Section 20-124.8 is available to help deploying parents.

A male has no job, owes back support and 1600 monthly what can he do? -

A male has no job, owes back support and 1600 monthly what can he do? -

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can I be held liable for my husband's pre-marital debt? -

Can I be held liable for my husband's pre-marital debt? -

I have been subpeaoned in assault charges against my boyfriend where i was the victim. -

I have been subpeaoned in assault charges against my boyfriend where i was the victim. -

my niece signed a notorized paper 7 months ago giving my husband and I custody of her daughter pending us adopting her. -

my niece signed a notorized paper 7 months ago giving my husband and I custody of her daughter pending us adopting her. -

Using GPS To Track Your Spouse In Virginia -

Using GPS To Track Your Spouse In Virginia -


Visit me on Facebook for Discussions, Notes and Legal Updates.

I'm over 18 but my girlfriend is 15 years old. I might face statutory rape charges. Does my girlfriend have to testify? -

I'm over 18 but my girlfriend is 15 years old. I might face statutory rape charges. Does my girlfriend have to testify? -

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Straight Answers -

Straight Answers -

Get the help you need to leave your abusive spouse. Mary G. Commander, Attorney & Mediator

my husband left me almost a month ago, does he have any right to come back in the house -

my husband left me almost a month ago, does he have any right to come back in the house -

If you want to keep your spouse out of the house, you need an order against the louse.

Why Is The Ex Always Bad?

How come the ex is always bad and wrong?
Posted by Martha Chan on April 20, 2010

I’ve read a lot of discussions posted on the Forum on, on facebook, and blogs by people going through divorce. A vast majority of them complain about their ex, about how bad and wrong they are before during and after the divorce or separation. The complaints range from how the ex didn’t treat them right while they were married, cheated on them, didn’t take care of the household, fiancially in debt, was not there for the children, alawys late in picking or returning the children after visits, didn’t pick up the children when they should, didn’t pay the support payment, didn’t get a job and be self sufficient, dated too soon after the separation, brought home the new boy friend/girl friend too soon, leave the children alone with the boy friend/girl friend, terrible step parent… and the list of complaints goes on.

I was once asked why is it the ex is always bad and wrong, or why don’t they just do the right things after the divorce. I thought I would share my answer here. First of all, these are all one sided postings. We know that there are often two sides to a story. And when someone is venting online about their ex, the ex is usually absent and no one is there to defend the absentee. Second, most people who initiate the divorce have done so because they know (not just think) something is wrong with their ex, so it would only make sense that the ex remains to be bad and wrong after the separation. But perhaps more importantly, they need to keep on making the ex bad and wrong to justify or prove that they have made the right choice by asking for a divorce. Of course, if we weren’t the one to initiate the divorce, the other person is bad and wrong for having initiated it.

To me, part of the irony is that for most states and in Canada, the reason for filing a divorce is “irreconcilable difference”, not he/she is “bad and wrong”. Further, divorcing people are still hoping to change/control their ex who is supposed to be leading a separate life.

What’s interesting is that most people who divorce end up falling in love and remarrying. This may suggest that the same person who is bad and wrong is lovable… to somebody else. So where does the truth lie?

Does it help to complain about your ex, as in will the ex change their behavior? I don’t know, maybe. Does it help to complain about your ex online? I would definitely have to say no because your ex does not even know about it and you are the only person who is all wound up. I suppose venting online anonymously can be therapeutic for some on a temporary basis. But I think letting it go, finding a way to reconcile and acknowledge the differences between you and your ex is a better way of spending your time. So, when is the right time to stop making your ex bad and wrong? How about now?

Martha Chan Martha Chan is the co-owner and V.P. Marketing of Divorce Marketing Group and Divorce Magazine. She is responsible for all online and offline initiatives of the company. She is married to Dan Couvrette and is a step mother of two sons. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. She can be reached at (888) 217-9538 ex. 36 or

Incriminating video -

Incriminating video -

Parents have an obligation to protect their children first and foremost.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Divorce Recovery

How Long Does "Typical" Divorce Recovery Take?
If you're not moving beyond your divorce, you may be doing something wrong
Published on April 18, 2010

One of the most common questions newly divorcing people have for me is, "how long will it take before I'm over this divorce ordeal?

My answer is always the same: "How long it takes to "recover" from a divorce depends on a number of factors, including how long you were together, how good the relationship was and how committed you were to your spouse, whether the divorce was a surprise to you or not, whether you have children together, whether you or your spouse are involved in a new relationship, your personality, your age, your socio-economic status and on and on.

I liken the undoing of a marriage to trying to disentangle two trees that have grown next to each other for years. The more intertwined the root systems are, the longer it will take for the trees to go their separate ways.

In addition, grief has a life of its own and you are done* when your grief process is done, and not a minute before. There is no magic formula and no way to get through your grief on the fast track. But you can do things to slow your process down, which I discuss below.

*(I'd like to qualify this statement by saying you're never completely "done" grieving if you had a sincere love and attachment to your spouse. By done, I mean recovered to the point where you are no longer weighted down by thoughts and feelings about your spouse or your marriage and the pain of the split is a distant memory.)

While no one can tell you exactly when this will be, I can tell you there are things you can do to make the process harder, and there are things you can do to ease the process. I've created a chart so you can see the difference by comparing actions side by side.

Top Ten Don'ts for Divorce Recovery

Actions that facilitate divorce recovery Actions that impede divorce recovery

1. Don't ask for help and try to do it all alone

2. Don't talk about your grief/feelings

3. Count on others to tell you what you need (don't be in your own power)

4. Stick your head in the sand and hope it will go away

5. Pretend you're fine or try to hold it all together

6. Be upset with yourself for "still" feeling bad, sad, scared or angry

7. Try to push your "negative emotions" away and be only in better feeling emotions

8. Don't accept your new reality and move on

9. Don't trust that things will work out

10. Be a perfectionist and think you mustn't make any errors

Top Ten Do's for Divorce Recovery

1. Ask for help & let help in

2. Talk about your grief with others

3. Get as much information as you can about the divorce process

4. Face each obstacle as it arises

5. Let others know when you're not feeling well

6. Allow your feelings to come to the surface

7. Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel

8. Accept your new reality and move on when it's appropriate to move on (this doesn't mean you have to like it!)

9. Have trust/faith that things will work out

10. Be willing to make mistakes (mistakes are going to happen no matter how well prepared you are - it's just part of the process

While I know there are more ways people have to impede or improve their recovery process, this list gives you a general overview of the do's and don'ts as well as the reminder that you can get through it but you'll need a good set of emotional and mental "tools."

I will add a note here also to those may be beyond the time it "should have"taken. If you are three or four years post-divorce and you find that you are not letting go, my best guess (without assessing you personally) is that you are practicing one of the top 10 "don'ts and that you don't have adequate emotional support.

From "Psychology Today" Blog

I filed for an uncontested divorce. My wife won't sign them. What can I do? -

I filed for an uncontested divorce. My wife won't sign them. What can I do? -

What is a Material change in circumstances? -

What is a Material change in circumstances? -

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can i file for divorce on the bases of adultery? -

Can i file for divorce on the bases of adultery? -

Legal News-Judge Frees Liens From Wife's House

Woman upends $1.1M in liens her ex put on house through fraud

By Alan Cooper
Published: April 20, 2010

Tags: Domestic Relations, Judge Craig D. Johnston, Prince William Circuit Court

A Northern Virginia judge has given a woman ownership of her house, free of any of the $1.1 million in liens fraudulently racked up by her ex-husband before he disappeared.

In the case, there was no question who the bad guy was. But Daniel S. Wilkes was not around to hear testimony about how he had conned his wife and a series of banks.

He disappeared in the middle of last year rather than face criminal charges for bouncing a check at a Las Vegas casino and forging documents in Prince William County that netted him $1.1 million in loans secured by a house that was worth less than half that amount.

Wilkes’ wife, Alisha Wilson Wilkes, contended that the house was hers, unencumbered by any of the loans because she and her husband had owned it outright as tenants by the entirety before the fraud started.

Prince William Circuit Judge Craig D. Johnston believed the wife’s testimony that she was the innocent victim of her husband’s machinations and rejected the banks’ claim that it is inequitable to allow the wife to retain the property lien-free and leave them with the entire loss.

Wilkes’ “schemes not only defrauded his lenders, they defrauded Mrs. Wilkes as well,” Johnston wrote.

“She is left with large joint credit card debts which he incurred, as well undoubtedly with large legal bills. She is also is left without the husband and the father she thought she had for her child.”

According to Johnston’s opinion in Wilkes v. First Settlement LLC and the wife’s attorney, John C. Bazaz of Fairfax, the Wilkeses bought the house in July 2005 for $574,000 and took out a $459,800 mortgage on it.

Wilkes paid off the mortgage less than four months later. The source of that money was not clear to Johnston or Bazaz, but Wilkes was working at the time as an online day trader and there was no indication that the money for the payoff was obtained improperly.

The impropriety started in July 2006 when Wilkes forged his wife’s signature to obtain a $400,000 loan from the Bank of New York.

Seven months later, he received $150,000 from a line of credit loan from Bank of America. In April 20007, he received $130,000 from another line of credit, this one from SunTrust Bank, which gave him $54,800 from an additional line of credit in October 2007.

In each of the three line-of-credit loans, Wilkes signed an affidavit that he was the sole owner of the property, and – because the loans were relatively small – the banks did not conduct a title search to verify the affidavit.

Finally, in April 2008, Wilkes duped a notary into signing an affidavit that she had seen the wife sign a promissory note from Fannie Mae for $368,000.

Wilkes asked the notary to meet him at a hospital because his son was very ill. He told her that his son was near death and the wife refused to leave his bedside.

The notary allowed him to take the documents inside the hospital, and he returned with what he purported to be his wife’s signature on the note.

Johnston found that neither the wife nor the child were ever at the hospital.

The wife did not know anything about the loans until October 2008, when she received a call from a creditor.

Wilkes told her that he had been the victim of identity theft, and the wife at first believed him.

Another call prompted her to run a credit report and a title examination which, Johnston wrote, “gave her some idea of the enormity of what he had done. Searches of the house and his computer yielded other information, including pictures of him and women with whom had had apparently been associating.”

Johnston said it is not known what Wilkes did with the money, but some of it apparently went into his online trading and another large portion went to Las Vegas casinos.

Bank of America and SunTrust abandoned their claims on the house once they learned that it was held as tenants by the entirety and not by Wilkes individually.

Bazaz said the Bank of New York has filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Among its contentions are that Wilkes fraudulently conveyed the house to the wife after she filed for divorce.

Johnston said the conveyance did not put the bank in any worse position because the house was held as tenants by the entirety before the transfer, a status that protected her from claims by individual creditors of her husband.

Bazaz said Mrs. Wilkes has moved to West Virginia to be closer to family and is working as a school counselor.

The house is being rented and is on the market for $375,000. With the collapse of the Northern Virginia housing market, the word from those who have expressed an interest in the dwelling is that the price is too high, Bazaz said.

The Relationship Between Opposing Counsel


A. Introduction

People watching the interaction between the lawyers in their divorce sometimes have a hard time making sense out of what they see. One client said at the end of the divorce, "I could never understand how they could be at each other's throats one minute and cracking jokes the next." In spite of appearances, it is usually to your benefit if the two lawyers get along with each other.

B. You Benefit From Cooperation Between The Lawyers.

Stipulations can be reached which simplify the case, move it toward settlement and save you money. Lawyers often meet without their clients to try to isolate areas of agreement and disagreement and to cooperate in exchanging information. Your lawyer will discuss any such agreements with you.

All this can be done without compromising your position. If negotiations don't result in a settlement, your lawyer can and will vigorously represent you in trial. The time spent exchanging information and negotiating will make you and your lawyer better prepared for trial.

Lawyers routinely extend simple courtesies to each other such as agreeing to extend deadlines and postpone hearings. You may feel like every advantage should be pressed in your favor, and that if the other side is under time pressure, your lawyer should take advantage of it. But in the long run, it doesn't help you for your lawyer to be uncooperative. In most cases, an extension is available by court order anyway. Refusing to agree just costs you and your spouse more legal fees. And the shoe will be on the other foot some day. When you need more time, the other side will remember your discourtesy and refuse. Then you will have to go to court for relief and both your legal fees will again increase. Still, you are not powerless in these matters. If you truly believe that a delay will work to your detriment, tell your lawyer so that you can discuss what to do.

Finally, it is important for lawyers to treat each other in a way that makes it possible to work together in all cases. The good reputation your lawyer has developed for cooperation and reasonableness in previous cases will benefit you in your case.

C. You Will Be Hurt If The Lawyers Are Drawn Into An Emotional Fight.

Part of the job of a matrimonial lawyer is to be objective, to stay calm and rational during the emotional cross fire of a divorce. Experienced lawyers know that anger can impair their judgment. So they try to avoid personal feuds with the opposing lawyer. Still, some clients are pleased at first when their lawyers attack opposing counsel. Their pleasure usually lasts only until they realize the cost in fees and lost settlement opportunities caused by belligerence. If you feel your lawyer is not being aggressive enough, the two of you should talk about your concerns. Some cases require more aggressiveness then others. But if your desire for a more militant approach is motivated by anger, your best interests may not be served, and your fees will certainly be higher.

D. Dirty Tricks Do Not Help.

Your lawyer will be honest with opposing counsel and will expect you to do the same. Concealing information, lying, or in other ways being dishonest or trying to hide behind legal technicalities will almost always hurt your case. Lawyers and judges are angered by conduct which violates the rules requiring full and truthful information. Your case could suffer if you are less than candid. Another reason to do things right is your lawyer's duty to the judicial system. Lawyers have good reasons to obey all the rules that govern their profession. Breaking the rules means losing the respect of judges and other lawyers, and even risking the loss of a license to practice law.

E. Some Questions and Answers about the Relationship Between Opposing Counsel

1. Can lawyers be friends and still put their clients’ interests first? Yes. Matrimonial lawyers take their work very seriously. Even if the opposing lawyer is a friend of your lawyer, both lawyers can and will work zealously for their clients' best interest. Although it is sometimes hard for clients to understand, lawyers learn early in their career to take their client's side and argue positions with great conviction, even if they are arguing against a lawyer who is a close friend.

2. Why is the other lawyer being so nasty when my lawyer is being so nice? Lawyers are people, each with an individual style. Some think they gain an advantage by trying to intimidate the other side. Other lawyers are overly aggressive because they think their clients expect it.

Intimidation almost never works. Keeping calm and polite in the face of inappropriate behavior is usually the best way to a settlement or success at trial.

From The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer's Client Handbook

How can I file for Emergency Custody of my Grandchild when he is born? -

How can I file for Emergency Custody of my Grandchild when he is born? -

I live in chesterfield county with my x-girlfiend and our baby in my own home. can I make her leave my home. there for 9 months -

I live in chesterfield county with my x-girlfiend and our baby in my own home. can I make her leave my home. there for 9 months -

Do I need to file for divorce to get him out of the house and to help with the bills? -

Do I need to file for divorce to get him out of the house and to help with the bills? -

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can a child have two living custodial parents, plus a legal guardian in the state of Virginia? -

Can a child have two living custodial parents, plus a legal guardian in the state of Virginia? -

Marital Debts Do Not Need To Be Divided Equally

Virginia Lawyers Weekly
Marital debt should not be divided equally
By Alan Cooper
Published: April 20, 2010

When the General Assembly enacted equitable distribution in 1982 as the mechanism for dividing the property of divorcing spouses, it created a presumption that property acquired during the marriage is marital – the property of both spouses.

The legislature created no such presumption for debts acquired during the marriage.
The case of Gilliam v. McGrady (VLW 010-6-052) illustrates the reason for treating property and debt differently, according to Senior Justice Charles S. Russell.

Louis B. Gilliam and Arthur L. McGrady were married in 1990 and separated in 2005.

In 2000, McGrady formed a painting business and operated it until 2004. He was responsible for running the business and had sole authority to write checks for it.

In the first year of the business, Gilliam became aware that McGrady was not paying payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. From that year on, Gilliam filed separate income tax returns.

She told him that McGrady that must pay the taxes, but he responded that he couldn’t afford to pay them and that she had no business sense.

The business took in about $214,000 while it was in existence, and McGrady transferred about $53,350 to Gilliam’s checking account for household expenses. He testified that he also had paid household expenses directly out of the business account.

By October 2006, McGrady owed more than $118,000 in payroll taxes, penalties and interest.

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl V. Higgins ruled that both parties had benefited from the nonpayment of taxes and that McGrady had the burden of showing how and why the debt was incurred.

Higgins ordered McGrady to pay 65 percent of the penalties and interest but divided the principal amount of the taxes due equally between the parties.

A panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed Higgins’ holding on the burden of proof, although it acknowledged that Virginia Code § 20-107 creates a presumption for the treatment of property but not debt. “[W]e see no principled reason why the presumption should not apply to debt acquired during the marriage,” the panel said. “Property and debt are both components of an equitable distribution award.”

Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Russell said, however, a presumption on debt would interfere with the legislative goad of arriving “at a fair and equitable monetary award.”

In this case, he said, “The wife had no knowledge of the business affairs of Premier Painting and no means of controlling its non-payment of taxes. Far from condoning or encouraging the husband’s failure to pay them, she insisted that they be paid as soon as she became aware of the situation and immediately began filing separate income tax returns.

“Because the husband kept his business affairs secret from her, she had no way of knowing the extent to which the husband’s failure to pay taxes may have benefited the family’s finances, if at all,” Russell wrote. “As the circuit court found, there was no specific evidence of where the money went that had been obtained from the husband’s non-payment of taxes.”

In the absence of a presumption, “traditional rules concerning the allocation of the burden of proof apply.”

A party seeking to prove a debt was jointly incurred has the burden of showing that the debt is martial and shifting to the other party the burden of persuading the court that the debt was separate, Russell said.

On the other hand, the party seeking to prove that a debt was incurred by the other spouse has to make a prima facie case that the debt was separate in order to shift the burden of persuading the court that it was marital.

The decision caught family law practitioners off guard, even though they acknowledged the correctness of Russell’s analysis.

“My e-mail traffic lit up Thursday afternoon” (April 15), the day the decision came down, said Cheshire I’Anson Eveleigh, chair of the Virginia Family Law Coalition.

Eveleigh said family law practitioners traditionally have used the same analytical tools for allocating assets and debts.

The approach has the appeal of surface logic and consistency, she said. Practitioners approached a divorce with the idea of two separate trials, one for issues of custody and the other to allocate the couple’s resources – or lack of them.

Now, the different allocations of proof may well require three trials, she said. The ultimate result may be the same as it is under the approach lawyers and trial courts have been using, she said. “It’s just going to take longer to get there. It’s going to take up more of the court’s time, I believe” as judges may become more involved “in the minutia of who charged what on the credit card.”

Lawrence D. Diehl, the Chesterfield County lawyer who helped draft the statute, said even though Russell “correctly analyzed the words and terms set forth in the statute,” the practice of lawyers and the decision of the Court of Appeals may better reflect the overall intent of the law.

A legislative fix might be in order, he said, and Eveleigh said that possibility certainly will come up before the coalition shortly, although she would not predict what position it might take.

Joseph A. Condo, a family law specialist in McLean, said he understands the concerns of Diehl and Eveleigh about more work for judges and lawyers.

But Russell’s decision is “a fair result. If this is what is necessary to reach a fair result, then we’ll have to do what we have to do.”

Charlottesville lawyer Francis L. Buck represented Gilliam. McGrady was unrepresented in the appellate courts.

I am seperated and can file for divorce in about a month. I have been dating someone during the seperation and am now pregnant. -

I am seperated and can file for divorce in about a month. I have been dating someone during the seperation and am now pregnant. -

My girlfriend has custody of my child what legal rights do i have to visitation or getting custody of him. I am often -

My girlfriend has custody of my child what legal rights do i have to visitation or getting custody of him. I am often -

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Question about divorce papers -

Question about divorce papers -
"Signing divorce papers" is an urban myth.
"Signing divorce papers" is an urban myth like people microwaving dogs to dry them and the flushed alligators that are living in the sewers. If the parties are in agreement, they can sign a property settlement agreement, but in the case of the proverbial "I won't sign the divorce papers", there actually are no papers that require a signature. All that is required is that a party be given notice of the divorce. It is their choice whether to participate or not. If they choose not to participate, the divorce goes on without them. They mistakenly believe that their absence will impede the divorce process, but it merely prevents their side of the case from being presented

Tips To Prepare For Child Custody Mediation

Tips To Prepare For Child Custody Mediation

by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D.

Child custody mediation is a process in which parents work together to develop a plan for parenting their children after divorce with the help of a neutral third party. While mediation can be done privately, the use of court-connected mediation has rapidly grown over the last ten years.

In many states, the use of such mediation is mandatory before parents can litigate custody issues. The mediation process is one in which parents work together to devise a parenting plan that is mutually acceptable to both parents.

This parenting plan may be quite structured, specifying the day-to-day time share of the children, as well as plans for holidays, vacations, and other special issues of the family. By working together in mediation to develop a parenting plan, parents can avoid the battles which are so damaging in an adversarial process, and can include their children in the decision-making in a way that empowers them in a healthy way.

When parents use mediation and develop a parenting plan on their own, their children will be able to avoid loyalty conflicts and are less likely to feel the stress of battling parents. When children are included in the decision-making process, they benefit because they can express their feelings and know that their parents are listening to them.

Mediation gives children a much greater sense that they have a say in their lives and a freedom to contribute to the decisions that affect their lives. Courts that offer child custody mediation services do their clients a big service. Research shows that mediation can reduce litigation over custody.

When parents participate in mediation, they are likely to reach a settlement 60 to 70 % of the time. Parents are usually much more satisfied with mediation than with litigation. Most important, however, if parents use mediation, they will have control over the parenting plan, whereas in adversarial litigation, the judge determines how parents will spend time with their children.

With the improved satisfaction, the increased mutual decision-making, and the decreased hostility, mediation is clearly a healthier alternative than litigation. For those parents who live in an area where court-connected mediation is not available, private mediation services are usually available and are typically well worth the investment, especially in comparison to the alternative of litigation.

Parents will probably save money and have more control over the outcome if they use mediation.
Approaching Child Custody Mediation

* Approach mediation with an open mind, willing to listen. Parents who are open and listen to the mediator and their ex-spouse are the ones who are able to reach a settlement and develop a mutually satisfactory parenting plan.

Those who believe there is only one solution to custody and visitation issues are usually fairly stubborn and generally refuse to compromise. If parents come prepared to be open, they can brainstorm options until they find a solution that works for everyone, especially their children.
* Parents should come prepared with several options. Do homework before mediation. Think about and write out proposals so that they can be referred to in the mediation session.

A parent will not want to forget to discuss something that is important in the mediation. Parents need to make sure they understand their child's needs and stay focused on their child and his needs. Parents need to be aware of the impact of conflict on their child.
* Mediation is not the place to focus on the other parent. Mediation usually breaks down when parents argue about the "he said - she said" issues between them. This is not a place to rehash marital problems but a place to solve parenting problems after divorce.

Parents need to communicate about their child and their perception of her needs. If a parent is concerned about the other parent's anger, he should talk about their child's need for peace.

If a parent is concerned about the fact that the other parent lets his daughter stay up too late, talk about her need for routine and structure. Parents need to be open to what they might need to change for their child's benefit. Parents should always avoid character assassinations.
* Parents need to bring a sense of balance and humor. At times during mediation, things get tense. Parents need to maintain a perspective that balances their desires, the other parent's desires, and their child's needs.

While this is the goal, it may not be easy. If things get tense, parents need to remember that they are there for the children, not themselves. Parents do not have to like their ex-spouse to make an agreement on behalf of their children, they just have to love the children more than they hate the ex-spouse.

Take a brief time-out from the mediation session if necessary. Some parents need several mediation sessions to reach a satisfactory settlement.

Listen to the mediator's advice and consider it. He/she will most likely have the child's best interests in mind, even if the parents cannot agree on what that is. Parents need to recognize that the mediator's job is to try and balance the child's needs and each parent's desires.

The mediator does this while encouraging parents to reach a parenting solution. If nothing else works, sometimes a humorous, but not rude, comment can break this tension, and help everyone get back to work. While any parent will want to hold firm to their major beliefs and values, there may be many ways to satisfy these beliefs.

Parents should be open to different ideas, keep working to satisfy their goals, and be willing to compromise to reach a peaceful solution on behalf of their children.
Do's And Don'ts For Child Custody Mediation:

* Do focus on the child's needs.
* Do not focus on parental needs.
* Do think of custody as a separate issue relating only to what is best for the child.
* Do not discuss child support or property when trying to resolve a parenting plan.
* Do acknowledge a child's special needs according to her age, temperament, and development.
* Do not assume there is a standard plan that fits the needs of all children.
* Do acknowledge the other parent's strengths and bring up only valid concerns about the other parent's ability to care for the child.
* Do not bad-mouth the other parent.
* Do acknowledge that a child needs time with both parents, in a safe environment, developed by a parenting plan.
* Do not punish the other parent by withholding children.
* Do go to mediation prepared with:
1. A proposal for custody and a time-sharing plan
2. A calendar which identifies school holidays, work schedules, the schedule for the child's activities
3. A flexible and business-like attitude
* Do not go to child custody mediation unprepared.


Ahrons, C. (1994). The Good Divorce. New York: Harper Collins.

Emery, R. (1999). Marriage, Divorce, and Children's Adjustment, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Ricci, I. (1997). Mom's House, Dad's House: A Complete Guide for Parents Who are Separated, Divorced, or Remarried (2nd edition). New York: Simon & Schuster.
About the Author:

Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D. a Licensed Psychologist in Northern California, provides custody evaluations and consultation in high-conflict divorces. He is the author of several books and articles on divorce, including Parenting After Divorce.
Originally published 01/05/01
Revised 8/13/09 by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Be Kind To Lawyers Day-April 13

How To Participate
The best part of NATIONAL BE KIND TO LAWYERS DAY is that you're the judge of exactly how much you participate. Here is a brief list of idea starters to get your legal kindness flowing.

Take your favorite lawyer out to breakfast or lunch (make sure it's not billable!).
Send your lawyer a "just because" greeting card or a bouquet of flowers.
Switch your ring tone to the "dah-dah" sound from NBC's "Law & Order."
Abstain from telling lawyer jokes for 24 hours.
If you can't abstain, tell your funniest lawyer joke but switch out the lawyer with your profession. (I bet it's still funny.)
If you accidentally say something wrong or inappropriate on this day, just follow it up with the words, "Strike that from the record." Then continue talking as if nothing happened.
Salute the flag as you walk or drive by your local courthouse.
Buy something cool at:
Watch your favorite legal drama and pretend you're the one delivering the powerful closing argument. Some suggested films: "The Verdict," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "A Few Good Men" and "With Justice For All."
Do some simple repairs around the house with a gavel instead of your trusty hammer.
Try to slip words like "I object!" or "You're out of order!" into your everyday conversations.
Try to write up your own Articles of Organization for an LLC or draft your own will. See, it's harder than it looks.
Take notes at a meeting on a legal pad. Don't you just feel smarter looking at the glorious yellow hue of that 8-1/2" x 14" pad?
Go ahead, be creative. What are some ways you can be kind to lawyers today? Be sue to let us know so that we can add your ideas to our list.

Entertainment Weekly posted their list of the Top 15 On-Screen Lawyers. What do you think?,,20189419,00.html

Collaborative Law FAQ's

Collaborative Law FAQ's

The following article is from the Australian Blog, Two Homes.Nice to see collaborative family law as a method of resolving divorce and family law cases is taking root "down under."

What Is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative family law is a new approach to dealing with separation and divorce issues that doesn't involve the courts. If you adopt this process you and your respective lawyers formally agree (i.e. sign a written agreement) to work together to find a mutually acceptable and fair solution to your financial and child related issues - without involving the courts.

This approach is based on a team effort. You, your former partner, your lawyers and other professionals where required work together to resolve whatever is in dispute e.g. child support, division of assets or parenting of the children.

If your lawyers are unable to get you and your former partner to reach an agreement and you want to take the matter to court, they must resign from the case and you will need to hire new lawyers.

What Are The Advantages Of Collaborative Family Law?

* Promotes co-operation between you and your former partner
* You both have legal advisors at every stage of the process
* Clients are often encouraged to bring in different experts where appropriate such as child specialists, counsellors, accountants and financial advisers
* Generally saves you time and money
* You are guaranteed that your lawyers will do their best to reach a fair agreement and try to keep you out of court
* Litigation can never be threatened
* Likely to produce an agreement that meets both your own needs

What Is The Difference Between Collaborative Law And Mediation?
Mediation involves a neutral third person (a mediator) that facilitates discussion between you and your former partner and does not give legal advice.

In a collaborative process there are 4 people involved in all meetings:

* You
* Your former partner
* Your lawyer
* Your former partner's lawyer
(There also may be divorce coaches (mental health specialists), a financial expert and/or a child specialist.)

What Are The Key Features Of Collaborative Law?

* You, your former partner and both collaborative lawyers work as a team versus 'opposing parties'
* You, your spouse and both collaborative lawyers sign a contract agreeing not to go to court
* The Collaborative Family Law Process uses informal discussions and conferences to settle all issues
* Collaborative Divorce offers separating couples an inter-disciplinary way of dealing with separation and divorce
* Offers a dispute resolution model that provides a structure for both emotional support and legal guidance

What Are The Differences Between A Collaborative And Traditional Approach?
In a collaborative approach:

* Both parties agree to stay out of court
* The emphasis is on creating solutions that address the needs and values of the whole family
* The main goal is to reach a fair, equitable and comprehensive settlement of all issues outside of a court room


The Advantages of Mediation

What Are the Advantages to Mediation?

You get to decide: The responsibility and authority for coming to an agreement remain with the people who have the conflict. The dispute is viewed as a problem to be solved. The mediator doesn’t make the decisions, and you don’t need to “take your chances” in the courtroom. Many individuals prefer making their own choices when there are complex tradeoffs, rather than giving that power to a judge. You need to understand your legal rights so that you can make decisions that are in your own best interests.

The focus is on needs and interests: Mediation examines the underlying causes of the problem and looks at what solutions best suit your unique needs and satisfy your interests.

For a continuing relationship: Neighbors, divorcing parents, supervisors and their employees, business partners, and family members have to continue to deal with each other cooperatively. Going to court can divide people and increase hostility. Mediation looks to the future. It helps end the problem, not the relationship.

Mediation deals with feelings: Each person is encouraged to tell his own story in his own way. Acknowledging emotions promotes movement towards settlement. Discussing both legal and personal issues can help you develop a new understanding of yourself and the other person.

Higher satisfaction: Participants in mediation report higher satisfaction rates than people who go to court. Because of their active involvement, they have a higher commitment to upholding the settlement than people who have a judge decide for them. Mediations end in agreement 70 to 80% of the time and have high rates of compliance.

Informality: Mediation can be a less intimidating process than going to court. Since there are no strict rules of procedure, this flexibility allows the people involved to find the best path to agreement. Mediation can deal with multiple parties and a variety of issues at one time. In family mediation, for example, two children, Mom, Dad and Grandma might be involved. They may need to talk about chores, school performance, curfew, allowances, discipline, and the use of the kitchen.

Faster than going to court: Years may pass before a case comes to trial, while a mediated agreement may be obtained in a couple of hours or in sessions over a few weeks.

Lower cost: The court process is expensive, and costs can exceed benefits. It may be more important to apply that money to solving the problem, to repairing damages, or to paying someone back. Mediation services are available at low cost for some types of cases. If you can’t agree, other legal options are still possible. Even a partial settlement can lessen later litigation fees.

Privacy: Unlike most court cases, which are matters of public record, most mediations are confidential.

Source: American Bar Association

My case have been continued TOMMORROW is THE COURT DATE!!, -

My case have been continued TOMMORROW is THE COURT DATE!!, -

How do I find my childrens' father current address? -

How do I find my childrens' father current address? -

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do You Live With An Abuser?

Classic characteristics of an abuser are:

* Extreme Jealousy
* Controlling behavior
* Unpredictable behavior
* Unrealistic Expectations
* Isolates the victim
* Blames others
* Minimizes or denies abuse
* Cruelty to children or animals
* Uses force during sex
* Verbally Abusive
* Sudden mood swings
* Past history of battering
* Threats of violence
* Breaks or strikes objects

The abuser also often will be remorseful and will beg for forgiveness. The next day, you will receive cards and gifts and promises that it never will happen again. But it will. It usually will escalate too. It will not go away without professional help for the abuser.
Remember it is not your fault that it happens, but it is your fault if you continue to let it happen.

How can I get proof for child support that my child has been adopted ? -

How can I get proof for child support that my child has been adopted ? -

Do I (non-custodial parent) have to pay child support when children are in my custody? -

Do I (non-custodial parent) have to pay child support when children are in my custody? -

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I have been divorced for 10 years. May I request my ex-wife to return to her maiden name legally? -

I have been divorced for 10 years. May I request my ex-wife to return to her maiden name legally? -

my child just turned 18 yrs old and her father immediately stopped her child support but shes still in high school what can i do -

my child just turned 18 yrs old and her father immediately stopped her child support but shes still in high school what can i do -

Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates

Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates

You know it in your gut, and you’ve seen it in the splintered marriages around you. Finance-related tensions — however you define them — raise the risk of divorce.

A new study, by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, attempts to quantify that risk. His finding: Couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.

Professor Dew looked at responses from about 2,800 couples surveyed in 1987 by the National Survey of Families and Households. In this survey, both husbands and wives were asked, separately, about how often they disagreed with their spouse over chores, in-laws, spending time together, sex and money. These same respondents were then contacted again several years later, in 1992, and asked if they were still married.

Of all these common things couples fight about, money disputes were the best harbingers of divorce. For wives, disagreements over finances and sex were good predictors of divorce, but finance disputes were much stronger predictors. For husbands, financial disagreements were the only type of common disagreement that predicted whether they would get a divorce.

These findings were presented last month at the annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations, and appear in “The State of Our Unions,” a report on marriage and money released today by the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.

VA -Pls define "no hostile contact" vs "no contact" on Protctv order; +.can judg order adults to refrain sharing details w/minor -

VA -Pls define "no hostile contact" vs "no contact" on Protctv order; +.can judg order adults to refrain sharing details w/minor -

There's never a good time to get a divorce, but sometimes you just have to do it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Using GPS To Track Your Spouse

GPS tracking devices are all the rage. They have become so portable that you (or a private investigator) could attach one covertly to your spouses's car and record all of the comings and goings of that vehicle. That may seem like a very cost-effective method of surveillance, but if the car is titled to or leased solely in your spouse's name, you could be running afoul of the law. Virginia Code Section 18.2-146 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to "individually or in association with one or more others willfully break, injure, TAMPER WITH or remove a part or parts of any vehicle...for any purpose against the will or without the consent of the owner of the vehicle...." This "can" be interpreted to include placement of a GPS tracking device.

Family Law
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can my sons father get custody if his mom has a lot of money, but he is an unfit parent? - Child Custody -

can my sons father get custody if his mom has a lot of money, but he is an unfit parent? - Child Custody -

Sunday, April 4, 2010

when a woman marries can she change the childrens surname to her new married name if the man she has married is not her children - Family -

when a woman marries can she change the childrens surname to her new married name if the man she has married is not her children - Family -

Placing Children With Family Members-Is It Always Best?

It's federal law. It's state law. But is it always best? Nothing works all the time. Lately that has come full circle for me. When I was a young lawyer, I represented a great aunt who had custody of a young child. She had raised the child with no help from the parents. Then the father and his girlfriend appeared. Visitation started, and even though the child was afraid of visiting with the father, he was granted custody. Parents have a preference in custody proceedings that is virtually impossible to overcome. The girlfriend later killed the child.
The guardian ad litem in that case from years ago was the guardian ad litem in a case last week. A distant aunt was seeking custody from a non-relative. Again the relative preference was coming into play. The Department of Human Services took the position that only a relative would do, even though the mother preferred the non-relative. The aunt feeds the one year old baby foods like Ramen noodles and Chef-Boy-R-Dee. No wonder that in the last 6 months the child has gained 8/10th of a pound. The other relatives joked about her actually installing child proof outlet plugs (how silly).
Sometimes, it really seems that it may be better not to remain a part of a certain family.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bio mom doesnt brush childs teeth - dad & stepmom go to school to do it. Can mom "ban" stepmom from child's school? - Family -

Bio mom doesnt brush childs teeth - dad & stepmom go to school to do it. Can mom "ban" stepmom from child's school? - Family -

Parents' Access To School And Medical Records

Despite the common sense of it, as well as the existence of statutes, non-custodial parents often still have problems in obtaining their children's school and medical records. Unless there is a court order DENYING them such access, they are entitled to it. Because they are the parents too. You should hope that they want to know how their child is doing. More often than not, the search really is for ammunition to use against the other parent, but we can hope.

The primary statute that governs this is Virginia Code Section 20-124.6 (found in the Domestic Relations section of the Code). It provides very clearly that "Neither parent, regardless of whether such parent has custody, shall be denied access to the academic or health records of that parent's minor child unless otherwise ordered by the court for good cause shown" or with health care records, if release could harm the child in the opinion of the health care professional.
Section 22.1-287 also gives parents the right to the child's school records.
Section 32.1-127.1:03 (D)(1) authorizes parents to consent to release of the child's medical information.

This situation also is true regardless of the type of custody arrangement. You do not have to have, for example, joint legal custody, to be able to obtain records. You do not even need a visitation order. It is a parental right.

Husband and I separated and he is living with other woman (VA) - Alimony -

Husband and I separated and he is living with other woman (VA) - Alimony -