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 [email protected] 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 protected].
St. Patrick’s Day can be great fun, but when you are either about to be involved in a custody and visitation case or are currently involved in a custody and visitation case, a misstep on St. Patrick's Day could do a great deal of harm to your interests and to the interests of your children. Over imbiding on St. Patrick's Day can lead to assault and battery, trespassing, property destruction, drug possession, or DUI charges which could affect the amount of time you may be allowed to spend with your children. Even if you don't get charged with a crime, photos of excessive drinking or lewd and lacivious behavior on St. Patrick's Day that make it to social media platforms can also come back and haunt you during a custody and visitation case. Always hesitate to go out if you have visitation of your child during this time. Some judges may frown on the fact that you chose to go out partying instead of spending that time with your child.
If you can avoid the above referenced pitfalls, St. Patrick's Day can afford you some opportunities to shine in a custody and visitation case as well. Engage in some St. Patrick's Day craft activities with your children or cook some St. Patrick's Day themed baked goods with your children. Take pictures of you doing these activities and then you can use these photographs to show what you spend your time doing with your children. Even if you can't do anything directly with the children, perhaps you can arrange to provide something for their school St. Patrick's Day activities. A brief google search turns up a multitude of great actitivites you can do with your children on St. Patrick's Day.
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.
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).
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.