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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

How to modify a child custody arrangement

When two spouses divorce, one of the most contentious parts of the divorce involves child custody. Hopefully, in your case, you and your spouse can reach an amicable solution that suits everyone's needs. However, situations change over time. One or both of you may want to alter the agreement in the future.

When deciding upon the initial agreement, there are numerous factors a judge will consider. In Virginia, some of these factors include the mental and physical condition of the child, the mental and physical condition of both parents and the role each parent wants to play in the child's future. When one or both of you want a child custody modification, you must ultimately prove that this change is in the best interest of your child.

What dispositions are available for juvenile crimes?

Making mistakes is just part of growing up. Some of the mistakes teenagers make are not very serious and serve as a good learning experience. However, sometimes teenagers make poor decisions that have more serious consequences. For example, if a teenager in Virginia possesses drugs, commits a traffic offense or consumes alcohol, he or she could be criminally charged. Fortunately, except for very serious offenses, there are options when it comes to the disposition of juvenile crimes.

If a juvenile commits a crime and is ruled by a judge to be delinquent, there are a variety of dispositions that could be imposed upon the juvenile. The many types of dispositions reflect the notion that juveniles deserve the chance to rehabilitate themselves, so they can become productive members of society. Mistakes made in a person's youth, with some exceptions, should not affect a person for their lifetime.

Unmarried parents may face paternity and child support issues

Having a child outside of marriage is not as taboo today as it once was. In fact, many unmarried couples in Virginia have a child, and they are both good parents, raising the child in a healthy and happy environment. However, if their relationship sours and they end up breaking up, they will still face the issue of child support, just like a married couple would.

If the couple was married when the child was born, the husband is legally presumed to be the child's father. However, this legal presumption does not exist for unmarried fathers. In order for an unmarried father to be considered a child's parent for legal purposes, paternity will need to be established. Sometimes this is done voluntarily when the child is born by a legal Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, if this is not done, parents might need to turn to the court for a DNA test to establish paternity.

The changing face of family law and women in the workforce

Decades ago, it was the norm for men to "bring home the bacon" and for women to be stay-at-home moms. However, the dynamics of women in the workforce have changed, and these days it is not unusual for women in Leesburg and nationwide to obtain jobs in which they earn more than their husbands. This may be a step in the right direction for both women and men with regards to equality in the workplace, but it also has a significant effect on family law issues.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers conducted a survey of attorneys regarding women, child support and spousal maintenance. The results of the survey provided more information on the number of women paying child support and/or spousal maintenance nationwide. The answers to the survey indicate a growing trend in spousal maintenance and child support that differs from years past.

Just how far does the expectation of privacy extend?

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling stating that those who borrow a rental car from a relative or friend must be afforded the same police search and seizure protections that the person authorized to drive the vehicle would enjoy. In its decision, the court ruled that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy if they are legally driving a rental car, even if they are not technically the authorized driver of the vehicle.

The Supreme Court reasoned that there could be many innocent reasons for a person to be driving a friend or relative's rental car. For example, the renter could be intoxicated or could be too tired to drive. The Supreme Court wanted to avoid a situation in which an officer would be incentivized to pull over rental car drivers, knowing they'd be legally permitted to perform a search of the vehicle if the driver was unauthorized to drive the vehicle.

This case is significant because "probable cause" is a higher standard than "reasonable suspicion." While there may be reasonable suspicion to pull a motorist over, such as a traffic offense, reasonable suspicion alone is not enough to perform a search of the vehicle. It is important that the higher probable cause standard is upheld, so police do not unlawfully overstep their bounds in violation of one's privacy rights. Evidence obtained in an illegal search cannot be used against the accused in a trial, a fact that could make or break the outcome of a criminal trial.

When can police perform a DUI stop in Virginia?

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer across Virginia. People have cook-outs, go to the park, go camping or go to their favorite beach or swimming pool. For many, the three-day weekend is a welcome respite from the daily grind. And, at many of these celebrations, beer, wine and liquor will be served. As a result, Virginia police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers. If a person is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, they may wonder whether the traffic stop was lawful, especially if they are sober.

Police are permitted to pull someone over if they have reasonable suspicion that a person has done something illegal, such as drunk driving. Some examples of reasons why police might have reasonable suspicion that a person is driving drunk is if the driver is swerving between lanes, driving slow or erratically, almost crashing into things on the side of the road or frequently stepping on the brakes of their vehicle.

Virginians can plan for their child's college costs post-divorce

Getting a college education is a dream many parents in Leesburg have for their children. However, paying for college these days is not cheap. It can cost parents anywhere on average from $20,770 to $46,950 per year, depending on whether the college is a private college or an in-state school. Some parents may have set aside a savings account when their child was young, with the intention on using it to pay for their child's college education when the time comes.

However, no one can predict the future, and sometimes a person's marriage does not last. For parents who decide to divorce before their child is grown, they may find themselves caring for a child on a single-income, paying child support or paying spousal maintenance. This means that money that might have gone to the college fund is now being funneled to pay for other expenses.

Annulment may be an option for some Virginia couples

Not every marriage in Virginia is entered into by two people who are deeply in love with one another. Sometimes, one party keeps something of great importance a secret from the other party, only for the truth to be exposed after the marriage vows are said. Or, perhaps a party was intoxicated when they got married, or they were coerced into the marriage. Any of these situations could make a person regret having gotten married in the first place. People in such situations may think that divorce is their only option, but for some, annulment may also be a means for ending the marriage.

How does annulment differ from divorce? In a divorce, it is recognized that a legal marriage exists, and that marriage is legally ended once a divorce decree is finalized. However, if a marriage is annulled, it is as if the couple was never married, and therefore both parties are considered to be single for legal purposes.

What charges could be filed after a fatal car crash in Virginia?

Memorial Day weekend gives many Virginia residents a much-needed respite from the rat-race of the working world. People go camping, go to parties and cook-outs, go to the beach or simply relax in their own backyards. Memorial Day is also a popular time for people to kick back with a drink or two. While most people in Virginia will handle their alcohol responsibly, that doesn't mean that once they get in their cars that they won't be involved in a car accident.

Some car accidents are minor "fender-benders," causing vehicular damage, but no injuries. Unfortunately, not every person is so lucky and sometimes a car accident is fatal. And, should a motorist be accused of driving under the influence when the fatal crash occurred, the situation becomes very serious indeed.

Child support issues can be thorny, but help is available

When married parents in Virginia divorce, the custodial parent may face a number of financial challenges.

Moving from a dual-income household to a single-income household can be difficult, especially if a parent has a child. Naturally, both the parents and the court want to see that the best interests of the child are upheld. Children have many needs that go beyond the basic necessities of life, which a custodial parent may find difficult to meet on their income alone. Therefore, it is often the case that the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay the custodial parent child support.

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