Addressing Frequently Asked Legal Questions And Concerns

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  • Are divorce law and family law the same thing?

    Divorce and Family Law

    Question: "Are divorce law and family law the same thing?"      

     

    No. Divorce law pertains to divorces only. Family law encompasses divorces and other family law matters like custody, child support, and adoptions. If you are facing a separation, knowing this distinction is important when searching for an attorney that best suits your needs. If you have any questions about choosing a divorce or family law attorney, please contact us. 

  • Should I put a credit freeze on my child's account?

    Credit Freeze For ChildrenQuestion: "Should I put a credit freeze on my child's account?"

    Yes. Children are at a higher risk for credit fraud because it can remain undetected for years, recognized only when the child applies for their first credit card.  By that time, there is already significant damage to the child’s credit. Before the Equifax breach in 2017, there was a charge to apply credit freezes and the process could be a hassle. However, with the passing of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in 2018, credit agencies are now required to offer credit freezes (and removal of freezes) for free and honor freeze requests for children under 16.  The risk to your child(ren) makes the effort well worth it. Please contact us if you have any questions about your child’s identity protection.

  • I won a judgement over a limited liability business and she shut down. How to proceed from there and will I ever see my money again?

    Court RulingQuestion: I won a judgement over a limited liability business and she shut down. How to proceed from there and will I ever see my money again?

    If your judgment is only against a limited liability company which has now ceased operations, you may not be able to collect. However, if the Company now has or had any assets such as inventory or equipment at the time it ceased operations, those are still owned by the Company and its Member is now a “Trustee in Liquidation” with the statutory duty to liquidate the assets and pay creditors such as yourself. If you believe that the Company has or had assets which have not been properly liquidated, you may be able to recover against those or her individually if improperly transferred. Although it has ceased operations, a judgment creditor still has the right under Virginia law to conduct certain discovery which would allow you to better determine the collectibility of the judgment.  

  • Is a hand-written Will recognized in Virginia?

    Hand Written WillsQuestion: "Is a hand-written Will recognized in Virginia?"

    Yes, however, we strongly recommend you write your will with the assistance of an attorney to ensure that it is done properly. An improperly executed Will can lead to the unintended disposition of your assets and may burden your loved ones with the task of figuring out how to correct errors, and this can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Also, a handwritten will must be proven to be in your handwriting, which could require an expensive court proceeding.

  • In a divorce, what counts as desertion or abandonment? Are they the same thing?

    abandonment or desertionWhile desertion and abandonment are usually used interchangeably in divorce cases, there is actually a distinction between the two.

    “Desertion” is the breach of the duties stemming from being married.  First, there must be a break from living together as spouses (“cohabitation”).  Second, there must be intent to desert in the mind of the deserter.  You must have both to establish desertion.  Desertion does not depend on who actually leaves the family home.  Desertion can be “constructive,” which is where one spouse commits cruelty toward the other spouse, resulting in the innocent spouse leaving the marital residence.  The innocent spouse didn’t desert the marriage by leaving, he/she left due to the bad acts of the other spouse. 

    “Abandonment” is when there is evidence to show that “ a person has left his or her spouse or his or her child(ren) in a destitute or necessitous circumstances, or has contributed nothing to their support for a period of thirty days prior or subsequent either or both to his or her departure…” 

    Virginia Code 20-95

    Virginia Code 20-81

     

  • Can I be Stopped for Texting when I'm Driving?

    Distracted Driving

    Yes. Due to the dangers of texting while driving, it has become illegal in many states. In Virginia, texting and driving is a primary offense. This means a police officer can pull you over if they see if you are texting and driving. A ticket for texting and driving can cost $125, and a second offense can cost $250.

    Keep in mind that if you are pulled over for texting, you could subject yourself to other issues if applicable, such as such as driving while drinking or under the influence of drugs, out of compliance registration, insurance issues, and/or inspections. 

    You shouldn’t text and drive for your safety and others – period.  Don’t add to that risk the fines and other possible legal woes. 

     

     

  • Do I have to allow visitation if I am not receiving child support?

    Yes. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, you may not withhold visitation. On the flip side, if your child’s other parent won’t let you see your children, do not withhold child support. Either instance could lead to jail or fines. Make sure you document any and all interactions concerning the issues. If the two of you can’t resolve your problems, contact your lawyer to discuss your options.

    Parent and child holding hands

  • My child was injured in a car accident. Can I file a lawsuit on her behalf?

    Yes. Either parent may sue for the child. However, there are particular requirements for how the lawsuit must be worded, and failure to comply with those requirements can be fatal to the case.

    Importantly, the procedure for filing suit to recover for medical bills incurred by the parent or parents can be different from the action for injuries suffered by the child. Typically these two actions are combined in one lawsuit but not always.

    Finally, different statutes of limitation can apply to each action—generally two years after the child reaches the age of 18 (the child’s 20th birthday) for the injury claim but only five years after the accident for the parent’s recovery of incurred medical bills if the parent pursues that claim separately. If this sounds confusing, it can be. For this reason, it is highly recommended that anyone pursuing a claim on behalf of an injured child be represented by an experienced attorney. Consult with an attorney early on in the process to avoid potential pitfalls.

    Injury claims for children

  • Is the time in which you can sue (“statute of limitations (SOL)”) for personal injury different for children than adults?

    Yes.  The usual SOL for personal injury matters is 2 years.  For children, however, unless they have been legally emancipated, they have until they turn 20 to file a personal injury claim (age 18 when they become an adult and then the usual 2 years added to that). If they were already emancipated at the time of the accident, they have two years from the date of injury. If the injury happened before emancipation, they have two years from the date of their emancipation to file a claim.

    Statue of Limitations for car accidents

  • Can we determine custody or child support in the prenuptial agreement?

    Not advisable.  The courts always have the authority to determine custody and child support matters and will ultimately determine what is in the best interest of the children.  If you were to define custody or child support matters in a prenup, circumstances will necessarily be different should you ever separate due to the passage of time.  Therefore, the terms in any prenup would almost certainly not be enforced by a court (as courts can alter these terms even in a separation agreement if the parties later change their mind).

    Spouse signing a prenuptial agreement.