Recent Family Law Posts

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Family Law

Before Getting a Divorce Take These Twelve Steps

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A divorce is a life changing event, especially if you have children. You need to properly lay the groundwork before the process starts so it might go more smoothly and faster. Given how expensive it is to live in the Fairfax, Virginia, area, planning ahead financially is very important. Here are some suggestions on preparing for a divorce. Do you need a divorce? Decide if this is something you really want to do. Is there no hope for your relationship? Counseling may be worth a try. Once the divorce process starts it may be difficult, if not impossible, to try to get the relationship back on track. Talk to an attorney. Learn about your lega…

New Developments in Military Pension Division

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Attorneys Susan Butler, Roberta Henault and Molly Garrett recently attended a program hosted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers regarding New Developments in Military Pension Division presented by Col. Mark E. Sullivan (Retired). The program explored military pension division guidelines from past, present and future. Topics discussed included the recent changes to how military pensions are divided as part of a divorce due to the new amendments to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (i.e. ‘Frozen Benefit Rule’), the new prohibition against Courts from ordering indemnification when the retiree’s election of VA …

Paralegals: Finding the Fine Line Between Information and Le …

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By: Danubia Arias, Paralegal A paralegal is not allowed to give legal advice because it would be considered unauthorized practice of law. The unauthorized practice of law is rendering services that require the professional judgment of lawyers. While a paralegal may well know the answer to a specific legal question or understand different legal documents, he or she does not have a law degree, has not passed a bar exam, and is not regulated by the State Bar Association. To the average client, it is not always clear what is or is not legal advice. Legal advice is telling or advising a client what they should do in a certain situation and it …

Employers Need to Embrace Cyber Monday

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Let’s face it, billions of dollars in productivity is lost as employees shop for the holidays on company time. Shopping is easy at work where employees are already plugged in on line or out and about on company business. Then there is the procrastinator, spending countless hours finding the perfect gift on company time when stock is low and then waiting on line to send it Fed Ex. Instead of trying to prevent it, employers should allow employees a couple of hours to shop online on Cyber Monday. Employees will get their shopping done early when items are in stock and at bargain prices. Employees will feel better about themselves for getting…

Court of Appeals Gives Weight to Stepchild Treatment in Property Division Matter

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Does poor treatment of a stepchild make a difference in divorce-related property division decisions? According to the Court of Appeals, it does. In a recent appellate case, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a trial court’s decision to consider a man’s poor treatment of his stepdaughter a “negative non-monetary contribution,” which allowed his ex-wife to get a larger portion of their shared property, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly (VLV). The appellate decision was made yesterday in Crater v. Crater, a case out of Carroll County, Virginia. According to the details concerning the case, the man’s wife already had a young daughter w…

“Online” Marriages Fare Better Than Those Initiated “Offline”

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A new study published by the University of Chicago found that a large percentage of Americans are now meeting their spouses online, and that spouses who meet online are generally happier and less likely to divorce than those who meet “offline.” In particular, the study found that “more than a third of marriages between 2005 and 2012 began online,” compared to just nineteen percent, as measured in 2008. The study determined that the longevity and satisfaction rate of “online” marriages was also higher than those resulting from off-line encounters. Interestingly, marriages that resulted from meetings at bars or blind dates faired the worst …

Divorce May Cause Long-Term Health Effects for Children

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There is little question that divorce can create serious emotional and pyschological challenges for children. A recent study, however, suggests that divorce may also make children more prone to potential ill health in the future. In the study, as reported by The Atlantic, Canandian researchers found that the children of divorced parents were more likely to become smokers as adults, than the children of parents who did not divorce. The article noted that for children, “‘divorce’ can be experienced in any number of ways and be associated with a number of other behaviors and mental states” – for example, depression and anxiety. An increased…

Bill May Clarify Contradiction Between Virginia Domestic Relations Laws

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Currently, under Virginia law it is illegal for unmarried persons to “lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.” The law, which was originally passed in 1877, is one of only four state laws still in place in the United States barring such conduct. Although rarely enforced, it still renders unmarried cohabitation a criminal offense punishable by a fine and, for repeated offenses, up to one year in jail. Virginia law also allows individuals, who are unmarried and live together, or have lived together in the past year, with another person, to obtain a protective order against the other person, when that individual is a victim o…

Internet Dating Profiles Used as Evidence

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Today, people are keenly aware that the internet is a repository for senstive personal information. Whenever a person uses the internet – whether for banking, Facebook, Amazon, email, or Google Chat – that person creates an electronic profile for which information is retained, often indefinitely. Despite the public’s awareness of the permanency and lack of privacy of internet information, people often unwittingly continue to create caches of senstive information on websites, which could be used against them in divorce cases. A recent American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, reported by PRNewswire, shows that more than half of t…

What Happens to Our Business After a Divorce?

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For married couples who own businesses together, the prospect of divorce raises complicated legal and economic issues related to those businesses. However, while divorce may dissolve a marriage, it does not necessarily need to spell the end of a married couple’s business venture. According to a 2007 Census Bureau estimate, cited in a recent New York Times article, about 3.7 million businesses were owned by married persons in the United States. This article goes on to highlight a number of separated or divorced couples, including two attorneys, who decided to continue working together and operate their businesses, despite their marital dif…

Improved Economy Results in Increased Divorce Filings

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Welcome to the ShounBach Blog, your source for information relating to family law practice in Northern Virginia. This holiday season has fortunately been marked by indications of local and national economic improvement. Although Northen Virginia has been more immune to the Great Recession than other areas of the country, its residents have still experienced their share of economic strain. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the Great Recession has influenced fewer married persons to divorce since the economic downturn began. Now, according to a recent Washington Post article, because the e…
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