Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

We provide strong advocacy in child custody cases

Going through a divorce is a big change, not just for the spouses involved, but for their children as well. Most Virginia parents want to see that their children grow up in as optimal an environment as possible. Therefore, they need to recognize that, barring extreme circumstances, their children should be allowed to spend  time with each parent, even after a divorce, so that the children can have a meaningful relationship with each parent.

Therefore, even if there is animosity between a child's parents post-divorce, parents will need to put these feelings aside and work as a team to raise their child. When it comes to child custody decisions, the court will use the standard of the "best interests of the child," when determining who should have custody and when. The court may also take into account the child's preference as to where he or she will live, along with the child's progress in school and other developmental issues.

Property division: Marital property versus separate property

In Virginia and in most other states in the nation, when a couple is seeking a divorce their property will be divided per equitable distribution. When property is divided in this manner, a judge will decide what would be fair to both parties, meaning that it may not be an exact 50/50 split. In addition, only marital property will be subject to property division; separate property may be kept by the party that owns it. Therefore, it pays to have an understanding of what constitutes marital property and what constitutes separate property.  In Virginia, the burden of proving property is separate is on the party claiming that it is separate - It is presumed that all property acquired during the marriage is marital.

What steps must be taken to start a business in Virginia?

Making the decision to start your own business is exciting, but before diving into the world of business ownership head-first, there are certain steps that must be taken.

First, a person will need to choose a business structure. This is what makes the enterprise a "legal entity," so that it can own assets; open financial accounts; and  pay the necessary taxes. Some types of business structures include:  sole proprietorships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, and others. Which type is best depends on the business owner's goals and on the needs of the business.

Which parent claims a child as dependent after divorce?

Divorce between two parents is rarely easy, but some parents cause themselves unnecessary frustration and risk compromising the quality of life they provide to their children in the process. Often, this is because they do not properly address all the pertinent issues in their custody and parenting agreements.

If you struggle to reach fair agreements with your spouse about how you plan to raise your child after your divorce, you are not alone. Virtually all parents who divorce face difficulty reaching consensus on custody and parenting issues. In many cases, however, the scope of child custody and parenting agreements is so great that many parents miss important benefits or restrictions because they rush through the process or prioritize emotional victories over practical solutions.

Will Virginia police support needle exchange programs?

Drug addiction is in the news a lot these days, particularly when it comes to heroin. While this drug is unlawful in Virginia and every other state in the nation, there are still those who will possess and use these illicit substances. While prosecutors may simply want to throw the book at drug offenders, others in Virginia may want to seek ways to help these people overcome their addictions.

Around six months ago, Virginia legalized needle exchange programs. These programs give drug users sterile equipment to use to inject the drugs. The aim was health-related; it was a way to combat the ever-increasing rates of the diseases hepatitis C and HIV. However, the Virginia Department of Health has not gotten any of the 55 districts eligible for the program to apply for it.

Anticipate the unexpected through estate planning

Most people in Virginia don't anticipate dying young. Unfortunately, it can happen. People develop fatal illnesses; are involved in deadly car crashes; or have their lives cut short in other ways. When the unthinkable happens, what will happen to your loved ones who must move on from their loss?

This is why estate planning is so important, even for young people. Of course, when people think of an estate plan, they may initially think of a Will or Trust, which spell out who is to receive assets when someone passes away. However, there are many other estate planning documents that may prove useful to young people in Virginia.

It pays to have an understanding of the estate tax

Many people in Virginia may have heard of the federal estate tax, but may not be entirely sure what it is or if it even applies to them. In fact, under current law most estates do not wind up being taxed when a person dies. And, for those who would pay an estate tax, this obligation may be repealed by 2024 if certain pieces of legislation are passed.

Currently, the estate tax essentially taxes a person's right to bequeath their assets when they pass away. A person's assets -- including all money, real property, insurance policies, business interests, trusts and any other valuable items -- are added up, in order to calculate the total amount of the person's gross estate. Deductions, such as those for assets transferred to a spouse or charity, a mortgage and other items -- will then be taken from this amount. After that, the total value of taxable gifts a person made while alive is added in. The final total is what is considered to be the person's taxable estate.

The holiday season can be special, even after divorce

The first holiday season after a divorce can be challenging, especially if a couple has children. They may wonder how the child will react to the changes divorce brings at this time of year. However, with some cooperation and advanced planning, parents in Virginia can ensure that the holiday season is one of celebration for all involved.

First, when creating a child custody schedule parents will have to decide how they want to handle the holidays. Some parents may alternate years celebrating the holiday with their child. For example, the child might spend Christmas Day with one parent on even years, and with the other parent on odd years. Or, parents might decide to split holiday time. For example, one parent could have the child Christmas morning and the other parent can have the child on Christmas afternoon. Also, if the child is old enough, parents might want to ask the child how he or she would like to celebrate the holidays.

Be safe and smart this Thanksgiving holiday to avoid a DUI

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is a time for gathering families and friends together to share a meal and express our gratitude for all that the year has brought.

But it is also a time where alcohol flows quite freely, even before the big day itself. Thanksgiving Eve has earned the term "Black Wednesday" for all of the drunk driving arrests it generates for law enforcement all over the nation.

Virginia companies have options to structure their businesses

When a person in Virginia is forming a business, they have a number of choices as to how to structure their company. Of course, they could simply head out on their own as a sole proprietorship, but other options include a limited liability company or a corporation.

Some small business owners feel that an LLC is a good fit for them. It offers flexibility and simplicity when compared to a corporation. An LLC also shields the company from the issue of double taxation, which could crop up if a company is a corporation that owns assets that appreciate in value. If that is the case, then the corporation is taxed on the basis of its increased value if the corporation liquidates, but so too are the shareholders of the corporation. When a person owns an LLC, the LLC's taxes "pass through" to those who own the LLC, so the LLC itself is not taxed on its appreciation in value.

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