By Rob Hagy, Law Offices of Rob Hagy, P.C., 154 Hansen Road, Suite 202B, Charlottesville, Virginia. Call (434)293-4562 for more information or email for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to helping you!
The information provided on this web blog is public information and is not individualized legal advice. Do not take any legal action on any information contained in this blog!!! Always consulting with an attorney in your state about your legal issues. The presentation of information on this blog does not establish any form of attorney-client relationship with my firm or with me. While I have attempted to maintain the information on this blog as accurately as possible, this information may contain errors or omissions, for which I disclaim any liability. Case law from other jurisdictions discussed here are discussed for comparative purposes only. The author is licensed to practice only in the Commonwealth of Virginia and not in any other state.
Despite the foregoing, this material could be considered to be ADVERTISING MATERIAL. The responsible party for this blog is Robert R. Hagy, II Esq., an attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia, of the Law Offices of Rob Hagy, P.C., whose address is 154 Hansen Rd., Suite 202-B, Charlottesville, Virginia 22911.
My heart goes out to you. If you are reading this blog, you may be about to go through a divorce. And if you are I'm truly sorry. I know it is an emotional roller coaster. I'm sure you are feeling shock, surprise, saddness, anger, and/or despair just to name a few of the feelings you might be experiencing. Unfortunately, it is going to be a while before the emotional roller coaster stops. But it will stop. And step by step, one day at a time, life will move on and this experience will eventually just be a bad memory. You will be able to breathe again. You will be able to enjoy yourself, laugh, and make new memories. So for now just hang on and keep going. It will eventually get better.
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer For more help, please call me at 434.293.4562 or email me at email@example.com.
It started snowing just a few hours ago here in Charlottesville, Virginia, and there is more on the way. We're expecting a heavy snowfall. We've been inundated in the last few days with warnings about the weather. We've been lucky. This will be the first big snow storm of the year and maybe the biggest in a few years. There wasn't a concensus on exactly when the snow would start. There isn't a concensus on how much we are going to get. But there has been enough information out there to let everyone know that they had better get ready. Even if we don't know exactly how much we are going to get, it is going to be enough to cause problems here in Charlottesville. It's going to be tough to drive safely for the next few days. Schools and government offices are probably going to be closed as well. Grocery stores and hardware stores will be jammed. Parents will have to make alternative arrangements for their kids if there isn't any school. I've even heard that some of us might lose power.
Some of us are more prepared for the storm than others. I saw a former client of mine in the hardware store today and she, like me, was picking up some sleds for her children, but she was also picking up some oil lamps as well....just in case. She said her husband was a "prepper" and asked her to pick up the lanterns. While I was in line, two or three people came in looking for kerosine heaters and the hardware store was out. Three or four people came in looking for snow melt and the hardware store was out. Despite all of the weather reports we've gotten I bet there are even more unlucky folks out there who will be a little or even a lot unprepared for this year's big storm. On my way home, I noticed that the traffic was starting to back up. I saw a few folks speeding right along in trucks or SUVs at close to the regular speed limit and I saw others taking their time navigating through the streets.
Snow storms are a lot like divorces. Those of us about to be snowed in are a lot like soon to be divorcees. Some of us are more prepared for divorces than others. Some people want divorces and out right ask for them. Some people want divorces and out right leave. These people are the "preppers". They have already grieved about losing the relationship. There is no going back. They likely have done their own reseach and they have met with a lawyer. They may have already had a separation agreement prepared to hand over when they utter the words "I want a divorce".
No matter what divorce warning signs are present some other people will be a little and even a lot unprepared for the divorce. They shouldn't be. There are plenty of divorce warnings out there for these people to see. Couples are getting divorced all the time. Close family friends are getting divorced. Books and being written about divorce. Movies and documentaries are being made about divorce. Even in their own relationships the warning signs are present. Some of these folks are already sleeping in different beds, arguing more than anything else, cheating on their spouses, being cheated on, drinking too much, et cetera, et cetera. And they may continue doing all of these things until it is too late. They won't go to a therapist to deal with their personal issues. They won't go to a counselor with their spouse to help smooth over the rough patches in their marriage. They won't say no to the other man or the other woman. They won't go see a divorce lawyer just in case. And then things will really start getting rough for them when it starts "snowing": when their spouse says they want a divorce, when they are served with divorce papers, or when they are kicked out of the house because their spouse had to get a protective order. After these things start happening, these people are going to be in for some tough legal sledding. Some of these people will do the smart thing and consult with a lawyer, but some will try to make it on their own. Those folks will likely fail. Some folks will consult with a lawyer, but if they have chosen poorly or if they have chosen wisely and fail to heed their lawyers advice, they will be acting just like those speeding SUVs: basically careening around on icy roads with the windshield fogged over, with no chains on the tires, and with too much confidence that their four wheel drive is going to allow them to get by. I bet more than a few of those folks are going to end up in a ditch or up against a guard rail and I hope they don't get hurt.
There isn't any reason to be so unprepared for snow storms or divorce. Lay up supplies before the snow season even starts. Snow melt will keep. Check your snow shovel to make sure it isn't about to break. Buy a safety kit and put it in your car just in case. Buy a generator maybe if you can. Pick up a few laterns for when the lights go out. In the case of divorce, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Pay attention to the warnings signs. Communicate with your spouse. Get the problems out in the open. Don't be afraid to get professional help. Contact the therapist or counselor early. Get help for substance abuse problems. At the earliest sign of trouble, talk to a lawyer. Find out where you stand. Find out where you can go from here. Find out just how "deep" matters can get. Don't wait until just before the storm starts to get what you need to make it safely through your divorce. Your spouse might be way ahead of you and he or she might be ready for the long winter of divorce litigation.
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer. For more information or assistance, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office to schedule an appointment af (434)293-4562.
In the case of Slye v. Slye, the Virginia Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, ruled that an ex-husband was not entitled to modify a previous order granting his ex-wife spousal support. Upon petition of either party, a court may . . . [modify] . . . spousal support . . . as the circumstances may make proper.” Code § 20-109. In order to modify a prior support order, the moving party is “required to prove both a material change in circumstances and that this change warrants a modification of support.” Schoenwetter v. Schoenwetter, 8 Va. App. 601, 605, 383 S.E.2d 28, 30 (1989). The material change in circumstances must have occurred after the most recent judicial review of the award, see Hiner v. Hadeed, 15 Va. App. 575, 577, 425 S.E.2d 811, 812 (1993), and “must bear upon the financial needs of the dependent spouse or the ability of the supporting spouse to pay,” Hollowell v. Hollowell, 6 Va. App. 417, 419, 369 S.E.2d 451, 452 (1988). “The crucial question, once a material change in circumstances has been shown, is the ‘ability of the supporting spouse to pay.’”
Here, the circuit court found that there was a material change in circumstances because of the decrease in husband’s income. However, after reviewing the Code § 20-107.1 factors, the circuit court stated that husband was able to travel extensively both in the United States and abroad and that he recently made a $400,000 down payment on a house. It further found that he increased his net income by refinancing the mortgage from fifteen years to thirty years. Thus, while the trial court found that husband’s income was reduced, it concluded that the reduction of income did not warrant a modification of the spousal support award because husband, at the time of the hearing, still had the ability to pay the award.
However, the trial court did err in awarding wife attorneys fees. Here, the parties’ property settlement agreement expressly provides for an award of attorney’s fees in some instances but did not do so for spousal support modification proceedings. Where the parties have entered into a written property separation agreement and no provision for the award of attorney’s fees is provided as to future spousal support obligations arising out of the agreement’s support terms, the court has no authority to award attorney’s fees in such a modification proceeding. This is based upon the limits of the court where the terms of an agreement are filed with the court, or incorporated in the final decree based upon § 20-109(A) and (C).
The court may order that support be paid for any child of the parties. The court shall also order that support will continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (i) a full-time high school student, (ii) not self-supporting, and (iii) living in the home of the party seeking or receiving child support until such child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever first occurs. The court may also order the continuation of support for any child over the age of 18 who is (i) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (ii) unable to live independently and support himself, and (iii) resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support.
Pursuant to the final divorce decree, which incorporated the parties’ property settlement agreement, father was ordered to pay $900 in monthly child support for daughter until daughter “reaches the age of 18 years unless she is (i) a full-time high school student, (ii) not self-supporting, and (iii) living in the home of the party seeking or receiving child support until the child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever first occurs.
On May 10, 2012, mother filed a petition in the trial court seeking the payment of continuing child support by father.Father moved to dismiss mother’s petition, contending that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider mother’s petition and that mother lacked standing to petition for continuing child support. Essentially, father asserted that mother’s May 10, 2012 petition for continuing child support was untimely filed. Father alleged that daughter had already turned the age of 18 on January 8, 2012 and had also earned her general equivalency degree (GED) on April 19, 2012 before mother filed her petition. Thus, father contended that his responsibility to pay child support under the final divorce decree had already ended when mother filed the May 10, 2012 petition for continuing child support.
The daughter has been diagnosed with several conditions and disorders: fibromyalgia, Tourette’s disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disorder NOS [not otherwise specified], and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It did not matter that mother waited to petition for continuing support until after the child turned 18. Mother had standing to bring the suit and the evidence supporting a finding that the parties' daugther was severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled.
In the case of Engle v. Eberle, the Virginia Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion issued on December 17, 2013, ruled that the trial court correctly granted mother's motion to strike father's motions to amend custody and visiation. In 2008, father was awarded “a minimum of 4 uninterrupted hours on 2 weekends per month.” In addition, the order stated: The parties are encouraged to gradually increase visitation as a record of consistency is shown. Father is encouraged to take whatever steps are necessary to establish proof of his continuing sobriety and the suitability of his home for overnight visitation, with a goal that the Father have such visitation when deemed appropriate by the consent of the parties or upon showing these conditions exist as a change of the present circumstances in which such have not been shown.
Father presented evidence of a reduction in his drinking. He voluntarily installed an ignition interlock device on his vehicle from November 2012 until May 2013. There were two failures on father’s vehicle during this time. Father met with a psychologist who interviewed him and performed various tests. Father informed the psychologist about his criminal history and past issues with alcohol and anger management. The psychologist concluded that father’s daily functioning is “mostly” appropriate. The psychologist further concluded that, based on his interviews with father, the child would not be at risk in father’s care. Father testified that he occasionally consumed alcohol over the past few years. He explained that the failures with the interlock system on May 5, 2013 occurred after he shared a bottle of wine with his fiancée and tried to move his vehicle in the driveway. He admittedly had not enrolled in any kind of program for alcoholics, such as AA, nor did he have a sponsor.
Mother's motions to strike were granted because father’s evidence established that he continued to consume alcohol as recently as May 5, 2013, when the breathalyzer on his vehicle registered at 0.065. Based on the evidence, the trial court held that father had not sufficiently addressed his alcohol problem and that decision was upheld.
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer. For help with your custody and visitation questions, please contact me at (434)293-4562 or email me at email@example.com.
Virginia Code Section 20-108.2 This provision of Virginia law sets forth the child support guidelines-a table of reference for determining the base monthly child support obligation.
Virginia Code Section 20-124.3 This statute sets forth the factors that a court will consider in divorce proceedings, temporary proceedings, or modification proceedings to determine what custody and visitation arrangement would be best for the child or children involved.