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Divorce process in Virginia requires formal separation first

Ending a marriage is a big step that needs careful consideration. The laws of Virginia require couples to spend some time apart to make sure a divorce is what they want. Before the divorce process can be finalized, spouses must live apart for six months. If they have children, divorcing parents must live separately for at least one year. 

The separation serves as a period during which couples can resolve issues, and drafting a separation agreement -- though not required -- can protect both spouses. Such an agreement can state who will be responsible for mortgage payments and other debts. If they decide to keep the family home, the spouse who will live there can use this time to refinance the property and register it in his or her name as part of the divorce settlement. This agreement can also specify the ownership of assets acquired during the separation period.

Co-parenting: Issues to consider in Virginia divorce

When a Virginia married couple decides to divorce, they often encounter numerous challenges regarding child custody issues. Spouses divorce, but parents do not, and this means co-parenting terms must be decided as part of the settlement. Every family is unique, which is why the court often decides custody issues on a case-by-case basis.

The court typically believes that children of divorce fare best when they are provided ample opportunity to spend time with both parents. Many parents agree to shared custody arrangements because such arrangements make it easy for both parents to have active roles in their children's lives. In fact, parents are often able to write the terms of their own custody plans, although they must seek the court's approval before a plan is implemented.

Virginia woman accused of drunk driving after accident

When people are faced with a law enforcement member, they can often be overwhelmed by anxiety and nervousness. Not only can this anxiety affect their behavior, it could also make it more difficult for them to fully consider the implications of the information they might provide. Unfortunately, a young woman in Virginia was recently charged after she was suspected of drunk driving.

The incident that led to the 25-year-old woman's arrest is said to have happened at approximately 7:30 p.m. on a day in late March. According to reports, the woman left the scene of an accident after her vehicle reportedly struck another. A witness reportedly followed her afterward.

Theft: Are you stealing or borrowing? Your intentions matter

Theft is something most people are familiar with. At its core, it's taking something that doesn't belong to you without another person's permission. Theft might be from a friend or family member. It might be from a store or employer.

Legally, theft is defined as taking someone else's property with the intention of depriving them of that property permanently. With this legal definition, it's possible to get theft charges dropped or reduced if you can show that you did intend to return the item to the person to whom it belonged.

Toddlers and divorce: Simplifying the concept

Children of all ages go through divorce, and although they may seem too young to understand the implications of what's happening, many kids do from a young age. Toddlers are particularly susceptible to the impact of a divorce, since they will have more difficulty understanding what's happening and why it's happening.

As a parent, it is an important task to sit down with your child and to do your best to explain what's happening. Young children rely on routine, and if their routine is going to change, the best thing you can do is explain why and try to help your child cope.

Woman seeks child support payments decades later

Being a parent is often hard. It involves long hours, often with little sleep and with constant worry about the ability to meet the needs of the children. When there is only one parent providing support, it is even more difficult. As a result, parents in Virginia are often ordered by the court to pay appropriate child support. If that support is not forthcoming, the other parent often has no choice but to pursue legal avenues for payment.

A woman in another state recently took such a path even though her daughter is now 52 years old. Reports indicate that the woman, now 74, raised her daughter on her own since the latter was three years old. The ex-husband was ordered to pay her $210 a month for 30 months followed by $160 a month until the daughter was 21.

Woman arrested for drunk driving after Target shopping trip

Police in Virginia claim that a woman took a recent shopping trip to Target a little too far. Shortly after leaving the store she was stopped and arrested for drunk driving. Additional charges for obstruction of justice, battery against a law enforcement officer and more were eventually filed.

The 30-year-old woman visited a Target store on March 1, where she apparently drank an entire box of wine while shopping. After checking out, she returned to her vehicle and drove away. A police officer noticed the woman flicking cigarette ashes out of her vehicle window and initiated a traffic stop, although it is not clear if this is the only reason behind the stop.

Considering reward points in asset division process of divorce

Most people in Virginia are aware that a great deal of thought and consideration often goes into the process of deciding whether to end a marriage. Once that decision is made, however, couples are left to make multiple decisions that could ultimately have a significant impact on their financial stability for the years that follow. While deciding who will keep the house and how child custody will be divided are obvious, other decisions -- such as who will retain any points earned with the use of a credit card -- may be easily overlooked during the asset division process of a divorce.

However, credit card reward points have value even if they may be easily overlooked. If one spouse can prove that he or she had the credit card in his or her name only and the associated reward points were earned prior to the marriage, that person may be able to retain all the points. However, if the points were earned during the marriage -- even if the card was held in only one spouse's name -- they will likely be considered marital property.

Understanding tax exemptions following a divorce

At this time of year, it is understandable that people in Virginia and across the country have their thoughts turned to their taxes. As the filing date approaches, many people likely have multiple questions, especially if they chose to divorce and share custody of children. Who can claim the children as their dependents is often a question that many parents have.

Ultimately, a dependent can have a significant impact on taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made some changes to how dependents are treated, including increasing the Child Tax Credit to $2,000. As such, parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship may both want to declare their children as dependents.

Relocating: Here's what you need to consider

Both you and your ex split custody of your children, but you have a problem. You've been offered a job that will provide you with almost double your salary, but it's two states away. You know the distance is detrimental, but the money is too good to ignore the offer.

You should be aware that relocating with your child is not appropriate unless you have the approval of the court. The court will have to consider many factors before agreeing to a relocation, since it would change the way your custody rights work.

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