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Leesburg VA Divorce Law Blog

'Bachelor in Paradise' star in custody battle

Virginians who have followed Amanda Stanton through her appearances on "The Bachelor" and subsequently on "The Bachelor in Paradise" likely know that she became engaged to Josh Murray during the second show. Stanton has two children who she shares with her ex, and he has now filed motions to modify the child custody and child support orders that are currently in place.

Stanton's ex, Nick Buonfiglio, currently pays her $2,000 per month in child support. He argues that when the support was ordered, Stanton made only $100 per month. Since her appearances on the reality series, he claims that her income is now $20,000 per month.

Child custody reform bills becoming popular

Virginia parents who are divorcing may appreciate the fact there is a push for child custody reform in many states across the country, and some states have enacted legislation. Missouri is the latest state to do so. Other states that also have reform laws include South Dakota, Minnesota and Utah. Arizona issued a policy proposal encouraging a more egalitarian treatment of child custody in 2010, and that has been deemed to be a success.

Child custody reform bills encourage judges to emphasize equality in parenting time where both parents have responsibility. Previously, courts have favored mothers when it came to awarding physical custody, with fathers getting some type of visitation schedule.

How divorced parents may pay for a child's sports dreams

Many Virginia parents want their kids to dream big. However, if they dream of being Olympic champions or even just getting to higher levels in their chosen sport, parents may find that the costs increase. If the parents are divorced, paying the additional coaching and lesson fees can be very difficult.

Just because a couple is divorced does not mean that a child has to give up on the dream of becoming a sport sensation. In some states, courts can potentially use the child support guidelines to set aside some of the child support for the cost of the sport. This money is often earmarked as "entertainment" and may also cover other extracurricular activities such as concert tickets or a day or two at the amusement park.

What to know about wage garnishment in Virginia

A wage garnishment is an order for an employer to withhold a certain portion of an employees paycheck. The money that is withheld goes to a creditor, a tax authority or any other entity that is owed money. Typically, wage garnishment is used to repay tax debt or other debts owed to the government. Wage garnishment is regulated in part by Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

The terms of the act stipulate how much of a person's paycheck can be garnished. It also protects employees from being terminated if wages are only being garnished to pay a single debt. However, this act does not say anything about matters unrelated to how much is being garnished or if an employee is terminated for having wages garnished. The law applies to anyone with personal earnings such as wages or salaries.

Primary caregivers and child custody

When deciding on child custody matters during a divorce, a judge will often give physical custody to the parent who serves as the primary caretaker of the child. Any Virginia resident who is seeking custody of his or her child will benefit from understanding how being a primary caregiver can affect a child custody decision.

The inclination to choose a primary caregiver as the primary custodial parent is an aspect that is rooted in psychology. Psychologists place significance on the relationship and emotional bond between a child and his or her caretaker. The continued presence of both is necessary for the proper development of the child. When making decisions regarding child custody, the family court judge will make a decision based on the overall best interests of the child.

Child support and credit in Virginia

According to NPR, Americans owed over $113 billion in child support in 2015. Typically, child support debt is reported to credit agencies by the agency responsible for collecting the debt. Therefore, failing to pay could have consequences for an individual's credit report and score. This also means that paying child support on time could improve an individual's credit situation.

The exact impact of missed payments depends on state laws. For some, a late payment is only reported to credit agencies if they hit a days late or amount owed threshold. This means that there may be some leeway for those who miss a payment to take action. It is important to note that a missed or late child support payment may have the same impact as missing a credit card or mortgage payment.

Divorce can reveal lack of financial skills in one partner

Many Virginia residents have heard at least one divorce horror story. Typically, one spouse leaves the financial decisions and tasks to the other. When the marriage ends, one person does not get the financial settlement that was expected, especially when the couple had a lot of assets. Advisers recommend that spouses play an equal role in handling money. In the event of a divorce, the participation of both people in their joint financial life could build the foundation for a fair and equitable resolution.

The funding of retirement accounts represents one area where both spouses should participate. Individual financial planning like this could reduce problems during a divorce, but a couple should not fixate on the potential for splitting. The spouses should see it as a way to plan successfully for a future together.

Reality stars headed to court for child custody case

Virginia residents who follow reality shows might have heard of the series that takes places in South Carolina called "Southern Charm," and those who are unfamiliar could still be interested when wanting to know about family law issues as the latest drama surrounding two stars of the show involves a custody battle. Various media outlets are reporting that 54-year-old Thomas Ravenel is filing a suit regarding a custody agreement about his two children with 24-year-old Kathryn Dennis.

It seems that these parents do not have a court-ordered custody agreement in place and that Ravenel wants to go to court to obtain one so that he can see his children, a 2-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son, but Dennis claims that Ravenel has not made any recent financial contributions for their children. She also says that he has not seen them in nearly three months and that she is essentially a single parent as Ravenel is not involved in the children's lives.

Modifying child support when circumstances change

Some Virginia parents who are ordered to pay child support may find it difficult to make payments. If the parent has experienced a major change in financial circumstances, it may be possible to seek and obtain a modification of the ordered amount to reflect the change in income.

Changes in income or in a person's financial circumstances normally result when they get a new job or become unemployed. A child support modification may be made on either a temporary or permanent basis. Common reasons to file a modification might include losing a job, becoming disabled, either parent going to jail or prison, either parent having a substantial income increase or if a child becomes more dependent on certain needs.

Issues with child custody

Divorce and child custody disputes can be difficult for both Virginia parents and their children. While the children need to know that they are loved and cared for, the parents may be too wrapped up in their own drama to always recognize this. If parents are not on good terms, one or both may not abide by the parenting schedule, which could put the children in a tenuous situation.

Even worse, some parents may show up on some designated transfer days and not show up on others. This may create confusion on the part of both the parent expecting the other to pick up the child as well as the child who may be left feeling unwanted. In some cases, parents who fail to show for scheduled visits may be fined or given the opportunity to make that time up.