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Virginia Family Law Questions & Answers
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.
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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: How do I find a psych evaluator to provide expert testimony in court that my ex-wife is alienating me from my kids?

I'm in Northern VA, it's been a challenge to find someone who can competently evaluate parental alienation.

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Apr 11, 2022

That is called a custody evaluation. Child psychologists who offer those usually advertise themselves as custody evaluators and expert witnesses. In the Richmond area, there a few who do most of them. When I have called some that are not available, they will usually recommend others who might be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: What to do when you know that your ex-wife is breaking a court order by leaving the state with the kids every weekend?

Not only is she leaving the state, but she drops the kids off with her boyfriend for him to watch for the weekend. She then returns to the state of VA to go to work for the weekend. Should I get an ex parte request (if I have strong evidence), emergency order, or call for a child welfare check when... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Apr 10, 2022

Court orders in Virginia are enforced through a contempt proceeding. After reopening the case, the proceeding is initiated with the filing of a verified petition describing the violation of the court order, along with a rule to show cause. If the judge finds the grounds sufficient, he or she will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Health Care Law for Virginia on
Q: See below.

My partner and I have moved back to the Charlottesville area to provider assist with his grandmothers care. It is the hope of my partner and his family that his grandmother can qualify for Medicaid, once she has Medicaid, she can be moved into an assisted living facility paid for by Medicaid. The... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Apr 4, 2022

You are asking a very complex question on a short answer forum and mis-understand some of Medicaid rules. Aunt may or may not be wrong - there are several ways this can be handled.

You need an Elder Law Attorney to advise you, and Charlottesville has several very good ones who are...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Is there any way that I can legally evict my husband? Do I have to let him drive the car that's in my name?

He has been in jail for a week and a half and is trying to come back here and I don't want him here. I don't know when he is getting out because he is waiting for a bond hearing. He has not recently threatened me for me to get a protective order. I plan on filing for separation next... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Mar 30, 2022

I have had clients change the locks after a spouse leaves the marital residence with the intention of deserting and abandoning the marital relationship. The other spouse usually complains but relents. Either spouse can file for divorce and request exclusive possession of the marital residence for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Family Law and Antitrust for Virginia on
Q: Trustee of my Grandfathers will is dodging paying anything out of account to those entitled to its benefits. help

My grandfather setup a trust within his will that will pay for my college courses/apartment while im enrolled at an university. I have been trying to get him to follow through and help me get money from this account. In the 5 emails I have with him it feels like i have been negotiating to get what... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Mar 30, 2022

The answer to your question depends on the provisions of the testamentary trust. These trusts sometimes are set up as spendthrift or discretionary trusts. This gives the trustee the right to make disbursements purely at his or her discretion, in order to protect the corpus of the trust from... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I be appointed as my brother's guardian? And would I be financially responsible for my brother's care?

My 71 yr old brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year. Humana Advantage Medicare denied his continued care at the rehab center as it reported that he was making progress (walking 20 feet with someone holding onto him is not progress). He lived alone & cannot live on... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 10, 2022

Short answer - yes, you can be appointed assuming your brother in law is not capable of granting a power of attorney. And no, you won't be financially responsible for his debts provided you ALWAYS say you're acting as guardian (or conservator.

Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My aunt's husband passed away and there was unpaid credit card debt. Does she owe this if it is not in her name?

What do we do if it's not in her name and only her deceased husbands name? There is one credit card that she is a joint user for. We have gotten death certificates so far but nothing else.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 10, 2022

The wife is not liable for credit card debt she did not contract to pay by being on the card or using the card. She may be liable if the charges were for something the law calls necessaries, like medical care, food, clothing, and other needs of her spouse, but that is liability for the necessary... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: In 50/50 custody, can mother refuse to allow children to be on fathers employer health insurance?

In the midst of divorce/custody case. Mother elected to not put children on her employer provided health insurance and instead has them on Medicaid. I am now receiving benefits through my employer and as of 01/01/2022 have enrolled myself and two children in this health care plan. Can mother refuse... Read more »

Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun answered on Jan 4, 2022

Generally speaking, a court will prefer that a child has high-quality insurance if the parents can afford it. For that reason, health insurance premium payments for children are taken into consideration when calculating child support.

You don't mention whether there is a court order...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: I am an international student in USA. I am going to marry second wife. Can this happend?
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Dec 22, 2021

It depends where it happens and where you reside. In general, under principles of comity, Virginia recognizes a marriage as valid if it was valid in the place where celebrated, unless it offends the strong public policy of the Commonwealth. In Virginia, a bigamous marriage is void. Bigamy is a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Name change in VA

If you want to change your full name in VA and get married, do you need to get the full name changed first or can it be done the same time you change ur last name for marriage

Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun answered on Dec 19, 2021

You can do that when you marry. (You could also do so in advance, but it's more work, costs more, and isn't necessary.)

As soon as you are married, the licensed marriage celebrant files the marriage certificate. You then request certified copies of the marriage certificate from...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Support and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I make my sons father pay 10 years of back child support?

I have a court ordered child support order which has been in effect since my son was 1 years old. His father abandoned him after losing the case and tired to jump back into his life at the age of 11. He claimed he would help out. Last year I put the 10 year old chip support order into action with... Read more »

Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun answered on Dec 17, 2021

It sounds like you should be able to enforce the original order and sue for the full amount of child support owed. If the court has not made any changes to the original order, then he will have to pay.

In order to fully answer your question, an attorney would need the specific details of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: My state's age for emancipation is 16. I am 14 and would like to be emancipated. Is there a way that I can do this?

My stepdad molests me and my mom doesn't believe me because she believes that I will just try and say anything to get rid of him. Little does she know that this is the reason I don't like him. I had suicidal thoughts at first, but then I found out about emancipation. I am financially... Read more »

Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun answered on Dec 16, 2021

I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing something like this. If you don't think you can talk to your mom, then please talk to a trusted adult or the school counselor right away about this. In Virginia, you can also call this hotline to report abuse: (800) 552-7096.

If your...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Federal Crimes for Virginia on
Q: VA Intestate Probate, on day of death, Spouse moved all money out of decedent's businesses he did not own any of

Spouse had wife own businesses while she was alive because he had "no credit", got huge loans in her name as guarantor, sometimes under false assertions about losses (SBA EIDL), acted as manager in member-managed LLC without being a manager or member, after 23 years of marriage used... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 14, 2021

Your description requires a series of follow-up questions, but other than the car registration, I don't see anything that is likely to excite a prosecutor. There may well be a question of undue influence or competence at the time she signed everything over to him, but you will likely need to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: Can grandparents who have never had a relationship with their grandchild of a single parent get awarded visitation?

I cut off all contact with my toxic and mentally ill parents several years ago, but they have continued to stalk me. I am concerned about them possibly suing for visitation once they find out they have a grandchild.

What are the chances that the family court would force me to allow them to... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Dec 13, 2021

In Virginia, grandparents have no custody and visitation rights by virtue of the familial relationship. Grandparents are among the class of interested persons who can ask for a custody or visitation determination, but will not obtain any rights against the wishes of a biological parent who has not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Can child support be decided upon outside of court in VA?

My wife and I are getting a divorce in VA, we have 2 kids, and we are both very high income earners. This is amicable, there's no fighting or hostility. We have agreed to joint custody. We both would like to have an agreement to split all costs 50/50, verses a set amount of child support. We... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Nov 19, 2021

Spouses can enter into enforceable written marital agreements in Virginia, also known as separation agreements, property settlement agreements, and agreements and stipulations when they address the incidents of separation and divorce. Ultimately, the parties cannot bind a judge by contract on the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: I would like to add my child’s father to birth certificate. At the time I was legally separated from my husband. Then

I got back with husband. After doing legal paternity test it is not my husbands. I would like the baby to have his fathers last name. We have a legal paternity test. How can I add the name ? I want my sons father to have rights.

Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq answered on Oct 29, 2021

You may want to look at

No attorney-client is created by this response. This is not intended as legal advice but is general legal information. You should engage an attorney if you wish to obtain legal advice for your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: What can I do about the very complicated situation with my mother? After paying $700/ a month for 2 years.

Recently, my dad passed away. So my fiance, my teenage son and I moved from NC to VA to move in with my mother because she said she would have to sell the house if we didn't. For 2 years we have given her double her mortgage in rent, all of the upkeep, and several big jobs for her with no... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Oct 25, 2021

You reported facts sound more like a domestic relations issue, which I do not handle, then a landlord-tenant matter. You should seek advice from a domestic relations attorney. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning, Family Law and Workers' Compensation for Virginia on
Q: What happens when someone's in the process of getting a divorce by a online divorce site but passes before its processed

My fiancée passed away and he had filed for divorce but he was told he had to send $66 more and then the papers would be mailed out but he passed before he could pay the $66 can i do anything to stop his wife from getting his Medicare set aside assistance because he didn't want her to have... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 21, 2021

She is the widow, and you are not.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: 6 years ago my husband left for another woman. The marital house is only in my name always has been and on the dead.

I am taking care of the house for 6 years but in May the house burnt down. Insurance is taking care of the rebuild and it will be worth a lot more. Is he still entitled to have the equity in the house.

Kellam T. Parks
Kellam T. Parks answered on Oct 6, 2021

This is a complicated question because, in Virginia, there is the concept of “Separate Property,” “Marital Property,” or “Hybrid Property.” Generally speaking, any property owned or debts owed before the marriage are the separate parties’, anything during the marriage is marital (and... Read more »

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