Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

Getting more time with your children after a Virginia divorce

One of the most frustrating things about divorce is how it always seems to impact the relationship between parents and children. The parent who sees the children the most will likely have to deal with the intense emotional burden of the children acting out as a result of the family dynamics changing.

The one who spends less time with the children may go through a period of feeling depressed or isolated due to the decrease in interaction with the children. Having less time with the children can be difficult, especially if you have a close bond with your kids. You deserve to preserve and strengthen that relationship despite the divorce.

What are the 'perils of reciprocity' of a Virginia DUI?

Many people, both Virginians and non-Virginians alike may have travelled across Interstate-95 during their travels this past holiday season. And, unfortunately, some of these individuals may have been arrested and charged with drunk driving. It is important to have a basic understanding of when a person could be charged with DUI and what penalties one might face, especially with regards to residents of other states who are travelling in Virginia.

In Virginia, if one's blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit (0.08 percent), they can be charged with DUI per se. However, even if a person's BAC is below 0.08 percent, they could still be charged with DUI if the arresting officer believes they have shown other signs of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or trouble keeping balance. Keep in mind that if a person's BAC is 0.05 or less, they do have a rebuttable presumption that they are not under the influence. In addition, a person can be charged with DUI simply for operating the vehicle, even if the vehicle is not in motion at the time.

Virginia businesses facing bankruptcy may have options

A person can put all their effort into their small business, but sometimes due to market conditions, consumer demands or other unforeseen issues, a business in Virginia can repeatedly fail to turn a profit. If this goes on long enough a business owner may decide that their best option is to file for bankruptcy. In general, there are three types of business bankruptcies. It is important to understand what these are so that informed choices can be made.

One option is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This bankruptcy may be preferable if it is inevitable that the business must close its doors. Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, it may be appropriate when a business's debts are so great that restructuring them isn't possible. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may also be an option to consider if there are no substantial business assets to reorganize. After the business's assets are liquidated and creditors are paid off through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, any remaining debts may be discharged. Keep in mind that partnerships and corporations cannot have debts discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Christmas time is high season for international child abductions

Parental child abductions have reached epidemic proportions around the globe. Every year child recovery organizations see an increase in the number of international child abductions during the holiday season. They receive call after call from distraught parents whose child has either been taken from their own home, or who has been abducted while spending holiday time with another parent abroad. These are extremely difficult and distressing cases.

The first thing any parent of an abducted child should know, and that cannot be stressed enough, is that time is of the essence. You should immediately report an abduction, even if it only a suspicion. The more time that law enforcement has to locate and detain a child abduction suspect before he or she can make it across a border, the better it is. The best chance of intercepting a child is while an abductor is still in the country.

Protecting your property division rights in a high-asset divorce

Property division, especially in a high-asset divorce, can be a tricky issue. It is often not as simple as just dividing everything in half. Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning asset division will be handled in a manner that is fair, even if it does not result in an exact 50/50 split. When couples have highly valuable assets, such as a home, investments, a business or more, it is important that each spouse's interests are protected if they divorce.

In general, only assets that were obtained while the couple was married are subject to property division. Assets owned before the marriage generally are not included in the divisible estate. It is important for couples going through a divorce to understand what they own and what they owe. For example, in addition to tangible property, they should come to the negotiation table with evidence of the income they both earned while married, mortgage and credit card statements from the last few months, bank account statements, information on retirement and pension accounts they hold and information on their taxes.

Winter driving may increase your risk of reckless driving charges

Driving in Virginia in the winter can be a dangerous and overwhelming experience. While Virginia may not get the kind of storms that people experience farther north, snow and ice accumulation on the roads still happen. There is also the increased presence of drunk drivers on the road during the holiday season.

Taking extra precautions to keep yourself and your passengers safe on winter roads is always a good idea. In order to stay safe on the roads, you need to adjust your driving habits to reflect the risks and hazards, including inclement weather and heavy traffic during holiday commutes. Failing to properly change your driving behaviors could result in charges of reckless driving.

When may penalties for a DUI in Virginia be enhanced?

While the winter holidays are a popular time for drinking, people in Virginia can be accused of drunk driving at any time of the year. Being accused of DUI can be an intimidating experience. This is especially true given the significant penalties one can face if convicted of a DUI.

If it is the first time a person is convicted of DUI, he or she may face a fine of anywhere from $250 to $2,500. In addition, his or her driver's license may be suspended for one year. A first-time DUI conviction will also permanently appear on one's criminal record, and a person will need to use an ignition interlock device. However, there are situations in which these penalties will be enhanced.

Long-distance parenting is going to take hard work

Not all parents who divorce are able to remain in the same geographical area as their child. When a parent must relocate, it can be challenging to maintain a close relationship with a son or daughter. Despite the challenges involved with parenting from afar, it’s vitally important that you make every effort to remain involved in your child's life.

Even if you are living in another state, there are ways to stay present in your child’s life. When your child is not in your physical custody, the following tips can help foster and maintain a strong parent-child connection.

Give your loved ones the gift of estate planning this season

As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 is upon us, it is a time of reflection. As a person takes stock of their life, what they've done and what they wish for the future and beyond, one thing that they may want to contemplate is executing an estate plan. A well-rounded estate plan can protect you and your loved ones should you become incapacitated, and it can ensure your assets will be handed down to your chosen heirs once you pass on.

Of course, people in Virginia might execute a will or a trust as a means of leaving an inheritance to their loved ones. However, an estate plan can be so much more comprehensive than just this. For example, what if you are the parent to a minor child and you and the child's other parent both pass away before the child becomes an adult? In an estate plan, a parent can appoint who they want to serve as guardian of their minor child should just such a situation occur. Without a guardian named in an estate plan, the court will determine who will best be suited to be guardian of your child. Most parents want to have a say in what would happen in this situation, so estate planning can be key.

'Birdnesting' is a unique approach to child custody after divorce

If parents go through a divorce, it is a huge transition not just for them, but for their child as well. Parents in Virginia may be concerned about how their child will cope with transferring between two separate homes. Thus, parents will try to establish a parenting plan that disrupts the child's life as little as possible. One creative way for doing so is through "birdnesting."

Through birdnesting, it is not the child but the parents that will rotate between living in the family home and living in a separate home. So, one parent will live in the family home when it is their turn to have custody of the child, while the other parent lives in a separate residence. Then, when it is the other parent's turn to have custody of the child, that parent takes their turn living in the family home while the other parent lives in the separate residence. Thus, the child continues to live entirely in the family home they are familiar with, and parents will take turns residing with the child per the terms of their parenting plan.

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