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Leesburg VA Divorce Law Blog

Tension between parents often leads to child custody disputes

When parents share child custody, or one parent has custody and the other has visitation rights, it will be necessary at some point to move the child from one parent to the other. These “swaps” happen every day in Virginia. In theory, a parent with visitation rights is entitled to spend time with his or her child, regardless of any disputes he or she has with the custodial parent, such as allegedly unpaid child support.

In reality, outside tensions between the parents sometimes affect child custody handoffs. The parents may still be dealing with resentment following a bitter divorce, or they may not feel the custody arrangement is fair. Some parents will not bring the kids to the handoff as a way to “punish” the other parent.

Bigamy voids a Virginia marriage, and it's also a crime

Back in October, Virginia joined the several U.S. states in which same-sex marriage is legal, following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that overturned the state’s ban. Of course, same-sex couples looking to get married must follow the same rules as everybody else, in order for their marriage to be valid.

For instance, no Virginia marriage is valid if one of the spouses was still married to a third party at the time. Besides voiding the marriage, bigamy is also a crime, as one woman recently discovered.

Who can get an uncontested divorce in Virginia?

Divorce can be a contentious affair, in which the spouses battle in court over their marital property, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation.  However, it does not have to be this way. Many married couples remain on good terms after separating, or at least civil enough to agree on how to resolve their divorce-related decisions.

For these couples in Virginia looking to save time and expense, uncontested divorce may be option.

Man found to be the father of 1 twin, not the other

Virginia law presumes that the husband of a child’s mother is the child’s legal father. This means that if the mother is currently married or was married up to 10 months prior to the child’s birth, but another man is believed by one party to be the biological father, paternity must be established in court.

When there is a question who the father of a child is, DNA testing usually is needed. Occasionally, paternity testing can yield surprising results, as it did in a recent case in New Jersey, where a man was found to be the father of one girl out of a set of twins -- but not both.

Slowly, same-sex divorce arrives in Virginia

As our readers know, a federal court ruling issued last year made same-sex marriage legal in Virginia. The flip-side of this change in the law is that divorce is also now available for same-sex couples in the state who need it.

Still, in the months since this ruling, same-sex divorce in Virginia seems to have been virtually non-existent, according to The Virginia-Pilot. An article on the subject says that a same-sex divorce finalized on Apr. 1 may be the first of its kind in Virginia.

Virginia named 12th-lowest in divorced population percentage

Being in 12th place is nothing to write home about in most competitions, but this may be good news, depending on your point of view: Virginia has the 12th-lowest population of divorced people in the United States.

This statement comes from a report by WTVR-TV, which recounted a study conducted by FindTheHome, an Internet real estate finder. Its findings come from the 2013 American Community Survey, and compares each state’s total population with the percentage of residents who have gone through divorce.

Might a divorce party help me get over my marriage?

Many of our readers probably have heard of “divorce parties” by now. For those who have not, a divorce party is just what it sounds like: a social gathering of friends and family to celebrate the end of a marriage.

Divorce is often a painful event, especially if you did not want the marriage to end, or were not the cause of the split. So it may seem strange that more and more people are choosing to throw a party to mark the occasion of their divorce being finalized.

Is there 'child' custody for pets in Virginia?

Americans love their pets. Millions of dogs, cats and other animals live with their human companions, and most are loved as part of the family.

However, the law does not see it that way when it comes to divorce. Virginia family law courts consider pets to be personal property, the same as your furniture and clothing. In other words, there is no such thing as child custody-like “pet custody.”

What is annulment in Virginia?

We are sure our readers have heard of annulling a marriage, but some of you may be unsure what the difference is between an annulment and a divorce under Virginia law, and how one might qualify for an annulment. Today, we will present a brief overview of marriage annulment.

The basic difference between divorce and annulment is, a divorce dissolves an existing marriage, and distributes marital property in an equitable manner. An annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

How to talk to you kids about your divorce

Children naturally will have a lot of questions when their parents tell them they are getting a divorce. Finding out that one of their parents will not be around as much anymore can be very confusing and scary, and they may seek reassurance that they are still loved and protected, despite the divorce.

A mother recently shared a list of questions her son asked her about her divorce, and the responses she gave. Perhaps not all parents reading this will agree with her approach, but this list provides a starting point for parents uncertain how to talk about their divorce with their kids.