Author Archive

Seniors, Divorce & Social Security

If you are divorced, you might still qualify for Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record. First, let’s assume that your ex-spouse is still living. You generally can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you are currently unmarried, and you are at least 62 […]

Manner of division of a family businesses in divorce

According to 2012 Census data there are over two million businesses nationwide that are jointly owned between spouses.  Some are jointly operated by both husband and wife while some are operated primarily by one spouse but are nonetheless owned by both.  What happens if the couple divorces? Whether determined amicably or not, there are several […]

Valuation Methods in the Division of a Business

When a husband or wife, or both, own a business during marriage, they will need to determine the marital value of same in order to divide same if they divorce. Like other assets, a business can be included in the marital estate for division, or Aequitable distribution,@ upon divorce. Also like other assets, the business […]

Civility at Child Custody Exchanges

Tensions may run high when divorced or separated parents exchange their child for visitation. They should do their best to avoid heated confrontation, especially threatening or violent behavior. In one recent Virginia case, a man was initially convicted of abducting the mother of his child by allegedly trapping her in his car during an argument […]

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Spousal and child support debts are not subject to discharge (forgiven) in bankruptcy. However, other debts owed from the bankrupt spouse to the other may be discharged.  Consider a Virginia case where the Husband in chapter 13 bankruptcy still owned the Wife child support arrearages, but not a substantial lump sum payment on a home […]

Child Custody: When the Custodial Parent Wants to Move

A custodial parent can move with the children but often with limitations. The court will look at the purpose of the move and whether it would substantially impair the non-custodial parent=s relationship with the children. The issue of relocation is made complicated by conflicting law, critical facts and jurisdictional considerations.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is negligence to such a degree that it shows indifference to another and an utter disregard of prudence that amounts to a complete neglect of the safety of such other person.

Must the Less Wealthy Non-Custodial Spouse Pay Child Support?

The custodial parent=s assets and earning capacity cannot be the sole basis for a determination of child support. There are statutory guidelines which are presumptively proper that Virginia courts consider in determining child support awards, although deviations may be permissible. Moreover, a child support decision must be in the best interest of the children.

Keeping Stock in Divorce

Like other assets, stock investments are presumed marital property if acquired during the marriage. It is up to a party to show that stock  which claimed “separate” is actually his or her separate property. This might be accomplished by Atracing@ the stock back to the party=s own separate funds.

Equitable Distribution of Marital Business

The splitting of a marital business can be a major issue in divorce. Virginia courts will not necessarily find the parties equally entitled to it. Instead, it will consider a variety of factors presented by the divorcing parties. These factors might include the negative and positive contributions to the business and family during the marriage, […]

Unlawful Entry/Trespass to See Child

Parents at odds with each other must remain sensible and exercise parental rights lawfully. The Virginia Court of Appeals recently confirmed that a man=s breaking into his ex-girlfriend=s home was not made lawful by his claim that he simply wanted to see his child. The court found it rational to conclude that the defendant, who […]

Harassment on the Internet

The Internet has made it easy to reveal or criticize others allegedly bad behavior. While posting negative comments online might be a tempting way to right a perceived wrong, it could lead to legal trouble for the poster. In one recent Internet harassment case, a Northern Virginia family won a $1.4 million dollar verdict against […]

Dividing Retirement Assets in Divorce

A couple=s retirement assets are often the biggest asset to be divided in a divorce. These include employer-based and non-employer based accounts. When facing divorce, here are some practical basics to keep in mind. All property in a divorce proceeding is presumed marital until proven otherwise. Courts determine whether a retirement account is marital property […]

What is a “GAL” in child custody cases?

In Virginia, a GAL (guardian ad litem) is an attorney appointed at the court’s discretion to represent the best interests of the child. The GAL represents the child and not either parent. The GAL can conduct investigations, including interviews with people close to the child. The GAL participates in trial and can make a recommendation […]

Determining and Modifying Child Custody/Visitation: Child’s Preference

The court must take into account the reasonable preferences of the child in determining custody and visitation if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference. However, the Virginia courts have further noted that although a child’s preference should be considered and given appropriate […]

Contributory Negligence in Personal Injury

Virginia uses a “contributory negligence” standard for determining if an injured party can recover damages for negligence in court. Generally speaking, if the defendant proves any of the Plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the accident, the lawsuit fails. Some states use a “comparative negligence” standard, which evaluates the percentage of responsibility to each party and […]

Modifying Child Custody/Visitation: Relocation

Can a custodial parent move far away with the child, even overseas? Sometimes. The court must consider factors such as the effect that the relocation will have on the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. However, the standard is the best interest of the child, not the best interest of either parent. Relocation cases are […]

Modifying Child Custody/Visitation

When a child custody/visitation order is in place, a parent may seek to modify it by demonstrating that 1) a material change in circumstance has occurred and 2) that the modification is in the best interest of the child. The party seeking the modification has the burden of proving those two factors to a preponderance […]

Personal Injury Liability and Damages

When a vehicle accident occurs, damages may be hotly contested. One difficult matter is loss of future wages because it involves projecting what the future will look like for the injured party. In other cases, the issue of liability may be a matter of dispute. For example, an employer may be liable if a delivery […]

What is a Voidable Marriage?

Unlike a void marriage a voidable marriage is presumed to be legally valid until it is annulled by a judge pursuant to an annulment action. Examples of voidable marriages include those in which a party was incompetent at the time or marriage or a marriage made under fraud or duress. Recent case law also determined […]

Noncompliance with Divorce Terms and Attorneys Fees

When a party fails to comply with a court order, the court may order him/her to pay the aggrieved party’s reasonable attorneys fees. In a recent divorce case in Fairfax, Virginia, the husband had to pay slightly over $18,000 to the wife to cover her cost of litigating his noncompliance with a marital settlement agreement […]

Valid Marriage Requires Marriage Licence, followed by Solemnization

Virginia law requires a couple to obtain a marriage license, followed by solemnization, to contract a lawful marriage. If the couple holds their marriage ceremony without first obtaining a license, the marriage is voidable. Moreover, a couple who obtains a marriage license must hold their ceremony within 60 days, or the license becomes invalid. No […]

Modifying Child Custody/Visitation: Abuse

One material change in circumstance that may warrant a modification of child custody or visitation is the occurrence of family abuse. Virginia law defines family abuse as “any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury and that is […]

Personal Injury: Mediated Settlements

Road travel can be dangerous. A particularly bad scenario is when a large vehicle hits a small one. In a recent case, a pickup truck driver admittedly failed to see a motorcycle and struck it while making a turn. Another recent case involved an 18-wheeler commercial truck that crossed the double yellow lines in the […]

The Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C. in Leesburg, Virginia serves the cities of Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg, Middleburg, Reston, and Vienna, Sterling, Ashburn and Purcellville, as well as all communities in Loudoun County and Fairfax County, Virginia.