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There are many reasons shared child custody order is best

When Virginia parents go through a divorce, the youngest members of the family can experience emotional trauma and stress. It's difficult when things in a home change drastically and permanently, especially when it means the kids will not see one or both parents as much as they did in the past. This is why many parents understand the benefits of a child custody order that allows them to share parenting time and duties.

In the past, the courts gave preference to the mother, leaving the father with little access to the children. Even now, one parent may decide that it is best for him or her to seek sole or primary custody of the kids. In reality, there is significant evidence that suggests, in many circumstances, this is not good for kids and can actually be quite harmful to them.

For dads, it is easier now to share custody of a child

Most people now recognize the importance for children to maintain a strong relationship with their dads after a divorce. Joint custody is more common than ever, and it is now easier for dads to secure the parenting time necessary to have a prominent role in the lives of their children. Not that long ago, however, courts most often gave preference to the mothers, and it was very difficult for dads to share custody of a child.

Divorce has changed in many ways over the previous decades, which is a positive step for fathers. Most Virginia fathers want to be active parents after a divorce, and joint custody allows parents to share both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the amount of time a parent will have with his or her kids, and legal custody refers to the right that a parent has to make important decisions for his or her child. This includes decisions related to religious upbringing, medical care, education and more.

Determining child support in Virginia

When a couple have children together, they are linked together for life, even if the romantic relationship ends. They are also legally obligated to financially support the children that are the product of a relationship. As such, many people in Virginia have multiple questions regarding how child support is determined.

All states, including Virginia, have a formula to be used when calculating how much child support should be paid, though the formula varies depending on a number of considerations. While various factors can be included in these formulas, the main factors are how many children the couple have and the gross monthly income for each parent. If there is a joint custody agreement in place, the number of overnight visits are also part of the calculations.

Is divorce on the horizon? Don’t ignore these signs

Despite your best effort to maintain a happy and healthy marriage, there may come a point when you realize it's in trouble. This doesn't necessarily mean divorce is imminent, but it never hurts to come to grips with the fact that it's possible.

Here are five signs that divorce could be coming:

  • You argue about everything: It's natural to have arguments as a married couple, but if every disagreement turns into a serious fight you may have a problem on your hands. Take a step back in an attempt to pinpoint why you're arguing so much.
  • Money has become a major problem: Financial issues are a top cause of divorce, so you should keep your eyes on any issues related to this. Is your spouse upset with you about how you're spending your money? Do they have concerns about your career path? Do you regularly argue about your budget?
  • You don't talk any more: Sure, you may converse when it's convenient, but you never find yourself having meaningful conversations the way you did in the past. An open line of communication is critical to any healthy marriage, so if you stop talking it could signal a bigger problem.
  • You look for reasons to avoid your spouse: For instance, you stay at work late because you know it means less time at home with your spouse. Or you hang out with friends on the weekend in an attempt to get away. It's okay for married couples to spend time apart. In fact, it's a good idea. But this can go too far.
  • Your spouse is acting strange: There could be many reasons for this, ranging from infidelity to financial problems they're attempting to sweep under the rug. If you notice this, it's important to bring it to light.

Virginia woman facing drunk driving charges after traffic stop

There are a variety of different reasons why a person driving during the early morning hours could have difficulties. For example, fatigue can have a huge impact on a person's driving. Despite this, police may be quick to assume that any issues with driving that they witness during a certain time of day is as a result of alcohol consumption. In fact, a Virginia woman is now facing drunk driving charges after a traffic stop.

The incident that led to the woman's arrest reportedly happened just before 2:30 a.m. on day in late December. Police claim that they initiated a traffic stop after witnessing the driver of a sports utility vehicle speeding. They also claim that the driver was not controlling the vehicle properly, but it is unclear what police reportedly witnessed. 

Warning signs you need to revisit and update your custody order

When the courts finally issued a divorce decree and parenting plan for your family, you likely felt a profound sense of relief. Even if you weren't thrilled with the specific terms set in the documents, you were likely glad to put the contention of the divorce behind you and focus on establishing a new routine for your family.

For the vast majority of divorced families in Virginia, the parents will share custody of the kids. The courts or the parents themselves create a specific parenting plan addressing all kinds of issues. Still, the specific terms explained in your parenting plan and custody order will not necessarily work for your family indefinitely.

Are retirement accounts divided in a Virginia divorce?

The goal for many people in Virginia is to plan for their future. For many, this includes contributing to accounts to help them plan for their retirement. For many couples, their retirement accounts are some of their most significant assets. Because their future financial plans often depend on these accounts, their fate during a divorce can have a significant impact on the rest of a person's life.

Some couples choose to create a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage. If one is in place, assets -- including retirement accounts -- will be divided as outlined in that document. Without an agreement, any income added into retirement accounts -- either by the spouse or the spouse's employer -- during the marriage is subject to division during a divorce. However, the exact division is often unique to each case; a court can consider a variety of different aspects, including whether the owner of the account contributed to an IRA for the other spouse and whether one spouse earns more money than the other.

Divorce filings increase in January

Television shows and movies would have viewers believe that the holidays are a magical time full of family happiness and hope for the future. But the reality is that the decorating, cooking and traveling that occur during the holiday period can create a great deal of stress on families in Virginia and across the country. In fact, some studies indicate that the number of divorce filings increase in January.

One attorney specifically claims that the first two weeks after the holiday season comes to an end is one of the busiest times of the year for those who practice family law in terms of divorce filings and new clients. Internet searches tend to support this claim, with an increase in divorce-related searches happening in the first few weeks of January. The claim is further supported by a university study that demonstrates an increase in filings in January when compared to December; this increase was observed in several states. 

Facts about child custody in Virginia

For many couples in Virginia, it is difficult to come to an agreement regarding how to best raise their children. Unfortunately, this is even more difficult for couples who are going through or contemplating a divorce. Fortunately, decisions regarding child custody and support do not have to be contentious; knowing what to expect can help ease the process and reduce tension surrounding these conversations.

The first thing to understand is the different types of custody. Decisions regarding both physical and legal custody can be made. Physical custody deals with whom the child lives with while legal custody deals with who has decision-making ability regarding the children at issue. 

DUI arrest follows Virginia car accident

There are many safe drivers on Virginia roadways. These drivers are dedicated to taking actions that limit their chances of being involved in motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, even the safest of drivers still face the possibility of making a mistake that could potentially cause a crash. Despite this, law enforcement officers may be quick to assume that an accident that happens at a certain time of day warrants a DUI arrest.

In fact, a man was recently arrested, following an accident that happened during the morning hours of a day in late November on I-495. Police have accused a man -- whose identity is unclear -- of driving south in the northbound lanes. Unfortunately, they say that, soon after entering the interstate, his vehicle struck a northbound vehicle head-on. Debris from those two vehicles hit two other vehicles.

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