Questions Answered by Thomas Woodward Ashton

Q: Ex and I have joint custody, he's custodial, yet won't let me see them. I'm 5 mins away, can he keep them from me!?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 22, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
It likely depends on the exact language in your order. Lots of orders out there have standard language that allows "reasonable and liberal visitation as agreed between the parties." The issue in cases where (a) this language is included, and (b) visitation is being denied by the custodial parent, is usually whether the denial is "reasonable." Also, there may be issues if you haven't notified the court of your change of address. However, before you take any action, you should speak with an...

Q: In VA. I have a dentist collection from maybe 2015 or 2014. The debt collector never got in contact with me until now.

1 Answer | Asked in Collections for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 18, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
It depends. Did you sign an agreement at the dentist's office to pay for treatment? If so, then the statute of limitations could be 5 years, not 3. Also, if they already have a judgment against you, it could be longer that 5 years. This is very fact-specific, and is something you should discuss with an attorney who can give you legal advice based on your spefici set of facts.

Q: My question is my grandfather wants to leave me his house. But we are unsure about how to go about it. And any issues.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 13, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
This is more of a wills/estate planning question. Depending on things like your age and whether or not your grandfather has clear title to the house, it may be a pretty straightforward answer. However, there are some important questions that need to be answered before you all take any action on his wish. Is there another person on the deed? How is title held? Does he have a mortgage? What is the value of the house? How old are you? And many more.

There are also tax planning questions...

Q: My daughter's father and I had a non-legal agreement that he'd pay $500 (cash) monthly as child support.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 13, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
Every case is different, of course, but typically, if you ask for it the court will order child support retroactively to the date that the petition for support was filed. You should contact an attorney immediately to confirm some important details, including that the correct petition was filed and served on him, and that child support is an issue to be tried at your trial date.

Q: I'm 17 and my grandparents have raised me. I want them to have full custody. Can I file a petition myself?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 13, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
Unless you are an emancipated minor (in which case custody wouldn't be an issue), the answer is almost certainly no. Your grandparents may be able to file themselves, seeking non-parent custody. Or a sympathetic parent who agrees with your wishes may file to change custody. But yes, your parents could fight the petition. Most do, in these cases.

You should contact an experienced attorney immediately, to seek legal advice and protect your rights and interests.

Q: I am asking for physical custody of my daughter and we went to mediation and can't agree on custody? What do I do?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 13, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
You should contact an experienced attorney immediately, in order to protect your rights.

Q: I’m 16 almost 17, how much of a say do I have to get visitation rights changed?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 13, 2018
Thomas Woodward Ashton's answer
Custody cases across the board are usually extremely case-specific, meaning that no one answer is likely to be accurate in all apparently similar scenarios. The answer also often varies by jurisdiction and even by which judge within a particular jurisdiction hears your case. However, in my experience, the closer a child gets to 18 years old, the more influence his or her desires have on the ruling of the court. Hypothetically, assuming no other adverse circumstances which would override the...

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