Addressing Frequently Asked Legal Questions And Concerns

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  • What should I do if my Social Security Number is stolen?

    Social Security TheftQuestion: "What should I do if my Social Security Number is stolen?"

    A stolen SSN is cause for serious concern because it grants the thief complete access to your identity. If your bank card is stolen, you can close your accounts. It’s not that simple when your SSN is stolen. If your SSN is stolen, there are 5 things you should do immediately:

    1. Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your profile. The agency to which you reported will notify the other two.
    2. Notify all three agencies that your SSN has been stolen. They will give you a free copy of your most recent credit report.
    3. Report the incident to the IRS.
    4. Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.
    5. Report the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They will notify all relevant federal, state, and local authorities.

    In addition, you should monitor your accounts closely and report any suspicious activity to your credit card company and bank. 

    If you have any questions about your Social Security Number or identity theft, please contact us today!

    Call toll-free at 888-691-9319 or you can fill out this short form to get started. 

    Visit this link for related information:

    Identity Theft: Taking Back Your Life
    Credit Agencies and Your Rights
    Should I Get a New Social Security Number if Mine is Stolen?
     

  • Can I adopt my girlfriend's child if the birth certificate was never signed by the bio father?

    Adoption without a signed birth certificateQuestion: "Can I adopt my girlfriend's child in Ohio if the birth certificate was never signed by the bio father and [he] hasn't made contact in 3 years?"

    Laws vary from state to state so you will need to seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio. The lawyers at Parks Zeigler are licensed in Virginia. However, if you, your girlfriend, and child all lived in Virginia, you may be able to adopt the child. Virginia has a fairly streamlined process for step-parent adoptions should you choose to marry your girlfriend. If you still wanted to adopt her child but not marry her, the process is a bit more complicated.

    Please contact us today if you have any questions about your family's Virginia custody issues!

    Call us toll-free at 888-691-9319 or fill out this short form to get started. 

    Visit these links for related information:

    Family Law in Virginia
    Do I have to pay child support if I'm not allowed to see my children?
    Can I change custody/visitation arrangements after the divorce is final?

  • Should I get a new Social Security Number if mine is stolen?

    New Social Security CardsQuestion: "Should I get a new Social Security Number if mine is stolen?"

    If your SSN is stolen, and it continues to cause problems years after the fact (presuming you've taken all steps to rectify the situation), it might be worth considering. However, it's not an easy process and it comes with some caveats.

    1. You must prove that the theft has caused substantial hardship, e.g. denied mortgages, problems with the IRS or law enforcement, or irreparable credit.
    2. Being issued a new SSN doesn't mean the problems will go away, as the old number will remain valid and you will have to continually monitor your accounts with that in mind. The SS agency never invalidates a number it has already issued.
    3. A new SSN means you have zero credit history, and your credit will have to be built back up - which, for reasons mentioned above, could prove difficult.
    4. The decision to issue a new SSN is up to the SS agency, not you.

    If you have any questions about your lost or stolen Social Security Number, please contact us today! 

    Call us toll-free at 888-691-9319 or you can fill out this short form to get started. 

    Visit these links for related information:

    Identity Theft: Taking Back Your Life
    What Should I Do If My Social Security Card Is Stolen?
    Credit Agencies and Your Rights

  • 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