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Virginia Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: If my teen decided she no longer wants to go to her father's, do I have to make her?

I have sole custody and her father has a visitation order. She is 14 and we live in the state of Virginia.

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 22, 2022

Unjustifiably withholding visitation can result in a change of primary physical custody of a child. A custodial parent must do everything within his or her power and authority to allow visitation to occur, absent some credible evidence of family abuse which would justify a modification of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Virginia on
Q: Can Virginia make you pay child support for a child over 18 if they have disability?

My fiancees son never received disability as a child and applied on his own and got it and is his own guardian and moved out of his mother's house and they still want him to pay her child support.

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 20, 2022

Under Virginia Code Section 16.1-278.15, child support may be ordered to continue for an adult child in the following circumstances:

"...The court may also order that support be paid or continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or...
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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: In VA, 12 mnths of separation is req'd w/ minors before divorce. Do I need notarized separation agreement to prove date?

I know in VA, a legal separation agreement is not always (or ever?) necessary. But we are separating under the same roof which I realize complicates things. We started this beginning of August, and have done everything on the "separation list" that we found in our research (separate... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 17, 2022

While the Virginia Court of Appeals has decided that it is possible for spouses to live separate and apart under the same roof, not all Circuit Court judges readily accept that idea. The idea is more popular in certain areas of the state, such as Northern Virginia, where the costs of housing is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: How can my mother gain emergency guardianship of my son without my consent?

I reside in Virginia which my son was born. My mother has been watching over him for me while I work to get my house together. She goes & files for emergency guardianship which she claims was granted in Delaware without my knowledge or consent

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 14, 2022

The jurisdiction over, or power to decide, interstate custody and visitation disputes is based on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, UCCJEA, a uniform law adopted in almost all the states. The purpose of the UCCJEA is to require a connection between the residence of the child... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband lied to the cops to get a epo granting possession of the home. If I get an order on him, who gets to stay?

I have real evidence that I can take to the magistrate and get him arrested for assault. If I was granted a EPO also and possession of the home, which h one of us gets to stay there? Is it the one who was granted it first?

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 11, 2022

A protective order may be issued in three successive steps, each with greater due process protections for the accused. To protect against an immediate harm, a emergency protective order can be issued ex parte by the magistrate or general district court judge on a sworn statement or affidavit,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband has an ego on me and has been granted temporary possession of the home. Can I get possession back?

My husband called the police on me and lied and said I covered his mouth and nose and slammed his head into the wall.

He was granted a epo because my son went along with it. Now my son feels bad he lied for his Dad. He thought I was just going to have to leave the house and that would stop... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 11, 2022

A protective order may be issued in three successive steps, each with greater due process protections for the accused. To protect against an immediate harm, a emergency protective order can be issued ex parte by the magistrate or general district court judge on a sworn statement or affidavit,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: What age does Virginia allow children to make decisions on whether or not they want to see their parents ?

I am thier grandmother and have had custody for nearly 9 years. They have been through a lot mentally and emotionally . Thier mother has seen them once in like 7 years and has not kept contact. The kids are now 11 yrs old and 13 years old. Neither of the kids wants anything to do with her and I do... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Oct 19, 2022

There is no specific age at which a child can express a custody or visitation preference. The Code of Virginia allows such a reasonable preference if the child is of "reasonable intelligence, understanding, age, and experience to express such a preference." When allowed to express a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Family Law and Health Care Law for Virginia on
Q: Is my past mental health evaluation protected by HIPAA PRIVACY RULE or civil rights ; taken without permission and used

After being in relationship 7 years with a registered nurse relationship ended with a 1 year old child . EXTREMELY OBVIOUS that she took my personal mental health evaluation (without my permission) preformed 20 years ago . without shadow of doubt secretly used against me in a 5 year horrific... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Sep 20, 2022

It is not clear that the evaluation was used against you. You could always check the court's file at the clerk's office. A court ordered evaluation could be admissible without an expert witness. Anything else would be hearsay, and the evaluator would likely be required to appear and... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: When splitting up the money left in an estate, how do I take out judgements against beneficiaries paid by the estate?

I have 2 siblings, both of which had separate judgements paid off by the estate when we sold the family farm. The siblings along with myself were listed as co-owners of the estate when my dad passed, so the judgements had to be paid before any funds from the sale were released. I shouldn't... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 8, 2022

Take the net proceeds of the sale and add back the amounts of the judgements that were paid, then divide that sum by the number of equal shares. Each beneficiary’s share is that quantity less the amount of judgements paid on his or her behalf.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Hello iam the beneficary of my mother's estate and it is in the will to sell her house and to split the preceding with

My 6 siblings and one will not get out for me to sell the house in virginia. What can I do without having to go through probate

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Sep 2, 2022

Without Probate, the Will means nothing. Any of the Heirs as Tenants In Common can file a Partition action.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: I have sole legal and physical custody, petition for amendment but I'm not recognized as respondent. How can this be ?

I am a paternal great grandmother with custody of my great grandson who has lived with me since birth and will be 14 this October and has never lived with his mother who has petitioned to amend custody and my grandson, the father is currently incarcerated and has been provided a GAL. Neither... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Sep 2, 2022

In Virginia, a motion to modify or amend must reference the existing order and recite its relevant provisions. If a third party has custody or visitation, that person is a necessary party to the proceeding, and must be served with notice. In order to prevail, a person seeking to modify an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: If someone gives false info on a marriage license, is the marriage invalidated? Virginia.
James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Sep 1, 2022

Virginia is not a common-law marriage state and requires that the parties to a marriage in Virginia must first obtain a license from the state. Virginia Code Section 20-31 corrects defects in marriage licenses if the marriage is otherwise lawful and is consummated by the parties with the belief it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Support for Virginia on
Q: This past June my daughter turned 18 here in the state of Virginia. She graduated from High School in May.

This past June my daughter turned 18 here in the state of Virginia. She graduated from High School in May. She moves into her apartment next month (Sept). I am veteran and my daughter will be going to school on my GI Bill and Virginia disability Dependent College program. Her mother has... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Aug 15, 2022

Child support in Virginia can only be awarded retroactively to the date that the petition was filed in the case of an original determination, or when motion to modify was filed and served on the payer parent in the case of an attempt to change support. The fact that a parent earned more during a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Is a verbal commitment legal in the courts.

My parents told me they wanted to leave me their house when they both past away. I sold my house and moved in with them. One year later my father pasted away and not even 2 months later my mom said that she wasn't going to leave me the house because she had 3 other kids to think about. Is this... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Aug 14, 2022

Almost all contracts are verbal, either oral (spoken) or written. A last will and testament requires certain formalities, as does a revocable or irrevocable trust. Both must be in writing and signed. In spite of the absence of a written will, trust, or contract, in some instances a court can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Child Custody and Civil Rights for Virginia on
Q: Can my husband marry a second wife overseas? We are married in Islam as well which he’s allowed to marry 4 wives

But at the same time we are legally married in the us

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Aug 11, 2022

The U.S. Constitution requires each of the 50 states to give full faith and credit to the valid acts of its sister states. There is no such requirement for the actions of other countries, in the absence of a treaty. Instead, the concept of comity controls. Comity allows a state to recognize the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Divorce, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my spouse evict my family from while I'm away on deployment?

I currently have my brother and his family residing at my home in preparation for me to leave on deployment since my spouse refuse to take care of the house. My brother is the POA for me while I'm away, however do I need to have additional documents saying I allowed them to live there.... Read more »

Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq
answered on Aug 8, 2022

You should provide to him a document expressly authorizing him to stay in your house to care for the same.

Here's some old Virginia law: "One joint tenant, co-parcener, or tenant in common, although he has a right to the possession of the whole against strangers, cannot make a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I legally get power of attorney over my mother, even though she is still married?

My mother has dementia, and she just married the wrong person. This man has decided to give up, moved me in with them to take care of her, told me he's not spending any more money and that I need to get a power of attorney over her.

One would think that would be his responsibility. Am... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jun 2, 2022

A principal must have the capacity to contract to give a power to an attorney-in-fact. That generally requires understand the nature and consequences of the legal act. If a principal lacks capacity or is incompetent, the proper arrangement is to have a guardian or conservator appointed for the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: How to find out if my deceased father left anything for his children
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on May 26, 2022

Have you asked your siblings or (step-)mother or other relatives if there is a Will or someone is filing probate? Did he have assets, and should you file as Administrator? A consult with a lawyer discussing your situation might be helpful, and, if that lawyer opens the estate, you’ll be repaid... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Are children entitled to anything after a parent dies, but leaves a spouse?

My father died without a WILL and his wife asked me and 5 other siblings to just sign a document that would release any assets that he may have had. She indicated that the document didn't have anything to do with us. When we asked to see what items we were waiving, she said that it didn't... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 20, 2022

Children of a decedent, who are not children of the surviving spouse, share 2/3rds of the intestate decedent's estate with the surviving spouse, who is entitled to 1/3 of the estate. There are also various statutory allowances and exemptions available to a surviving spouse and to any minor... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: VA- Joint custody -required to discuss decisions and parents disagree on child getting driver's permit.

Custody papers only say we must discuss important decisions but does not specify what constitutes important and what happens when we don't agree.

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 4, 2022

A decision to allow a child to get a learner's permit involves legal custody. For true joint legal custody, there would be a greater burden than simply imposing an obligation to discuss decisions: the parties would have to agree on legal decisions concerning the child. Sometimes, judges... Read more »

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