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Northern Virginia General Law Blog

Can you seek spousal support after a divorce?

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, is financial assistance that a person provides to their former spouse and that can last for varying lengths of time. Not every Virginia couple that goes through a divorce will have a spousal support agreement or order attached to their final decree, as spousal support is not necessary in all cases. In some divorces, the parties to the action will leave the marriage with sufficient wealth and income to support themselves without requiring spousal support.

A party who desires spousal support generally must request it. They may file a petition for support that describes why they should be awarded financial support after their marriage ends. Certain factors can be influential in a court's consideration of whether spousal support should be awarded to a requesting party.

Time to become acquainted with an ignition interlock device?

In 2012, the Commonwealth of Virginia joined 15 other states in requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle of anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Even if you are a first-time DUI offender, the court could order the IID for your car, and you must have it installed at your expense for whatever length of time the court deems proper. If you are about to become personally acquainted with an IID, do you know what this device is and how it works?

Theft charges may be met with case-specific defenses

It is not uncommon for a Virginia resident to borrow an item of property from a neighbor and to have the full intention to return that property when they are done using it. For example, a person may borrow a wheelbarrow to complete yard work and anticipate that they will return it to their neighbor within the week. If the borrower of the wheelbarrow fails to return it to its owner, a theft as generally not occurred. Even though the borrower kept the wheelbarrow, there is an important element of the crime of theft that is absent from this hypothetical scenario: the intent of the borrower to permanently divest the owner of the property.

Theft involves two elements: the taking of property and the intent to keep it from going back to the owner. The lack of an alleged thief's intent in this respect may be a defense to charges of theft. There are also several other defenses that individuals may be able to use if confronted with serious criminal theft allegations.

Can my ex-spouse move our child out-of-state?

It can be hard on both a parent and their child when divorce or separation causes them to live in separate households. Parents in Virginia who do not have physical custody of their children may feel as though they are missing out when they do not get to see their children each and every day. While options like virtual visitation may give parents more access to their kids when they are not in the same physical space, the distance between a parent and child can be hard to overcome.

In situations such as this, it can be incredibly difficult on a non-custodial parent to contend with the possibility of their child being taken even farther away from them. When a custodial parent wants to or must relocate, it can force a child to leave their home to remain with the custodial parent and to give up their already strained relationship with the non-custodial parent.

Drunk driving charges are common during the holiday season

One of the best parts of winter is getting to celebrate a variety of fun and family-centered holidays. Even when bad weather plagues the greater Manassas community, residents can still look forward to good times with good people as Christmas, New Year's and other celebrations come up on their calendars.

Oftentimes when people get together and celebrate there are opportunities for them to enjoy good food and to drink good drinks. But, if they choose to drink alcoholic beverages they may put themselves at risk of legal troubles if they get behind the wheel of their car before their drinks have had time to process through their systems. Drunk driving charges are common during the holiday season since people choose to celebrate with alcohol and then must get themselves home.

Factors that may invalidate a prenuptial agreement

People often view prenuptial agreements as a bulletproof means of protecting their financial and property-based assets in the event that their pending marriages end in divorce. Through a prenuptial agreement, a couple in Virginia may establish a support plan, decide who will keep the house and other key pieces of real estate and determine if and how shared accounts may be separated as the couple's marriage comes to an end. Prenuptial agreements cannot make any arrangements regarding children, such as custody or support, and if they do those provisions may be invalidated.

Prenuptial agreements can be invalidated in their entirety if certain factors are present in them after execution, or were present at the time they were signed. For example, if the agreement is unsigned then it generally cannot used to bind parties to its terms. Similarly, if one of the partners to the marriage did not have an opportunity to read the agreement before signing it the prenup may be invalidated later on.

Refuse to take a breath test at your own risk

The Commonwealth of Virginia is very serious about reducing the number of drunk drivers on our roadways. Therefore, if a law enforcement officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will ask you to take a breath test.

You may not want to take the breath test, and you may even have good reason not to, but you must understand that refusal comes with consequences.

What is a plea bargain or plea negotiation?

When Virginia residents are charged with a crime they may anticipate that their criminal law experience will be limited to defending themselves against their pending charges. While in some cases defendants choose to go to trial and have their sides of their cases heard by judges and juries, in other cases defendants and their criminal defense attorneys choose to engage in plea negotiations to mitigate the sanctions pending against the defendants and to speed up the process of coming to resolutions in their cases.

A plea bargain or plea deal is effectively an agreement that a defendant and a prosecutor make that can lessens the charge against the defendant, as well as the possible criminal penalties they can face, and in exchange the defendant agrees to accept the consequences of their reduced charge. Defendants and prosecutors can negotiate down charges, penalties and even facts in order to expedite criminal proceedings.

An overview of virtual visitation

A parent who lives with their child or lives in the same community as their child can attend the child's sporting events, concerts, recitals and other important activities that the child participates in. Parents in Virginia who have close physical proximity to their children can see them on holidays, take them out to dinner and generally maintain close relationships with the kids they love, even after a divorce.

Unfortunately, not all parents have the luxury of being able to hug their children before going to bed each night. Some parents, whether due to separation or divorce and the circumstances of their personal lives, may not have custody of their kids and may have to live great distances away from them as well. This can be the case if a parent is a member of the military and required to live on base, if a parent has to move for their job or if a parent relocates for a new relationship.

Possible defenses for drunk driving charges

As with other criminal charges, drunk driving crimes can often be challenged through different defense strategies. In Virginia, there are a variety of defenses that may help individuals facing DUI, DWI and other drunk driving charges to either mitigate or eliminate their outstanding legal matters. This post will touch on several possible defenses that individuals may use to face drunk driving charges, but readers are asked to discuss appropriate defense strategies for their cases with their criminal defense lawyers.

One set of possible drunk driving defenses that Virginia residents may utilize are affirmative defenses. These defenses actually admit that a driver was under the influence when they were behind the wheel, but that there is a reason that they should not be punished for such conduct. For example, the affirmative defense of involuntary intoxication may exonerate a person if they can show that they had no idea that they were consuming alcohol. Additionally, the affirmative defense of duress may demonstrate that an intoxicated person was forced to drive by another person who threatened them with harm.

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Manassas, VA 20110

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