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Leesburg VA Divorce Law Blog

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.

Child custody law puts the child's best interests first

Going through a child custody dispute can be emotionally difficult and frustrating. This is not some impersonal business deal; this is about whether your children will live with you most of the time, or whether you will get to spend time with them regularly and have a say in their upbringing. Perhaps nothing is more important in the lives of most Virginia parents.

State law puts the best interests of the child first when determining custody. This means that whatever arrangement the parents come up with in negotiations or mediation, or whatever the judge decides, must put the child's needs over the parents' desires. For example, would the child benefit best from a stable housing situation, or would it be better to split her time between each parent's house?

What can parents pay for with child support funds?

Some noncustodial parents accuse the parent with custody of the kids with misusing child support funds. For their part, custodial parents often claim that the money the noncustodial parent pays in not enough to meet the children’s needs.

These complaints are legitimate in many cases, but other times they are because one of the parents does not understand the purpose and use of child support. It is not supposed to be spent on just anything, but neither is it the case that parents are allowed to spend it on food, clothing, shelter and nothing else.

Fight continues over $972M divorce decree

A billion-dollar divorce order is being contested by both spouses. The oil tycoon who was ordered to pay his former wife $972 million of the marital assets says it is too much, and the ex-wife says it is too little.

Attorneys for Harold Hamm, who was estimated to be worth $16.1 billion at the time of the Nov. 10 ruling, say the fact that oil prices have fallen dramatically since then makes the $972 million figure, which appears to be technically alimony, a larger percentage of the couple’s fortune than the judge intended to award to Hamm’s ex-wife. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the value of Hamm’s oil fracking company, Continental, has dropped 36 percent since the divorce trial ended, and Hamm’s net worth is currently $9.6 billion.