3500 Virginia Beach Blvd #410, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Tel: (757) 363-0077
A+ Better Business Bureau Rating
3500 Virginia Beach Blvd #410, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Tel: (757) 363-0077
A+ Better Business Bureau Rating
At the Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beach, we are redefining the practice of family law to include all legal issues that affect families. When a parent is arrested for drunk driving or a teen gets a ticket for speeding or drug possession, the entire family system is affected. After a divorce decree is final, it is important to seek estate planning services so that your will reflects your new circumstances.
People look for many qualities when selecting a family law attorney. They want someone who really cares, someone compassionate and understanding, someone who will treat them with respect and dignity. People need an attorney who is discreet and professional, who has the strength required to protect their interests. They also want a lawyer who is up front and honest and who can accomplish the goal cost-effectively.
Attorney Lawren D. Burroughs, possesses all of these qualities and more. He is not only focused on resolving your current legal problem, he will refer you to services that may help you avoid future legal entanglements.
To arrange a free introductory consultation, please contact our law office today.
Can it work out?
Can it work out?
The divorce rate in the United States is at an all-time high. Some statistics indicate that nearly half of marriages will end in divorce, with many divorces occurring before the seventh year of marriage.
If you are getting a divorce, you need an attorney who can help you through this difficult time. At Burroughs Law Office, P.C., we take a holistic approach to resolving family issues. We help clients deal with the problems in their relationships rather than just assisting them in dissolving it. Contact our Virginia Beach law office to speak with an attorney about your case.
Divorces involve a number of complex legal issues such as child custody, support, visitation and property division. If you or your spouse is in the military, your divorce may be even more complex than it is for the average civilian couple. In addition, you or your spouse may be struggling with a criminal matter, such as multiple DUI charges or domestic violence. Whatever your circumstances, we can help.
The cost of a divorce depends on your individual circumstances. At Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beach, uncontested divorces can run as little as $1,039.44 (that includes court costs). Contested divorces can range anywhere between only a few thousand dollars to more than $100,000 depending on the circumstances.
To help you unravel the tangled web that is marriage and divorce, we provide advice and counseling only a compassionate, experienced attorney can provide.
At Burroughs Law Office, we help you work through the legal issues and assist you with the decisions you will inevitably face in your greatest time of need. Divorce and family law attorney Lawren D. Burroughs can help you with even the most complex issues involved in the dissolution of marriage, including division of property in high-asset divorces and military divorces.
Whether you're the husband or wife, you have rights. Don't let the clichéd metaphor "taken to the cleaners" apply to your situation. Contact us today for your free introductory consultation. There, you'll be able to determine if our law firm is the right fit for you and your needs.
Not everyone needs to go through an acrimonious courtroom battle to get a divorce. If you and your spouse can work cooperatively together and agree on many of the family and legal issues (child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division) you can get your divorce without a trial.
Working with an attorney, you can negotiate any areas where you do not agree and work out a settlement agreement. Your lawyer can then present the agreement to the court who can issue you a divorce decree. This process is less contentious than litigation, and it often saves the couple time and money.
If you believe you are a good candidate for uncontested divorce, contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beachtoday to learn more about the process and its benefits. We will make sure you understand the particulars of the process and work with you to ensure that the dissolution of your marriage goes as smoothly as possible.
Divorce decrees are court orders regarding a variety of important issues, many of which can be complex. Typically, a divorce decree will cover child custody and visitation arrangements, the division of marital assets and debts, and any alimony that may be appropriate.
If you plan to present an agreement to the family law judge instead of asking for a ruling, you will need to think beyond the surface and address the issues in detail. Many of these family law issues have long-term implications that you may not see and are expensive and difficult to change. For this reason, it is important to consult with a lawyer to help ensure your agreement is done right the first time.
Attorney Lawrence D. Burroughs II helps clients identify the issues involved their divorces and assists them in finalizing the divorce agreement. He will make sure the agreement and decree are approved by the court so there are no underlying issues that can haunt you later.
An uncontested divorce is a less contentious, less time-consuming and less expensive alternative to litigation. It can also be more productive for couples who agree to the divorce and can resolve issues amicably. This is especially true if children are involved.
If you are agreeing to a no-fault divorce and you are interested in the uncontested divorce process, we are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. To schedule a free introductory consultation, contact us online or call us locally at 757-363-0077. If, rather, you prefer to save a little money and complete your VA no fault divorce online, head on over to Frugal Legal Services to get started today. Please be advised, that we do not offer a free introductory consultation with our Frugal Legal Services solution as it is intended to be completed only online. We do, however, offer discounted hourly legal advice to those clients if you need it. Please review our terms and conditions carefully.
If you are ready to proceed and have already worked out all of your marital issues, you may be a candidate for our online no fault divorce option, Frugal Legal Services. The only caveat is that we do not offer a free consultation for our online option. You can, however, pay for our time by the hour to work through any outstanding issues. Frugal Legal Services is intended for the following type of couple:
If you believe Frugal Legal Services may be an option for you, please visit www.frugallegalservices.com. You can also call our office with any questions about the process and we will gladly answer them.
Military life is hard on families. The stress of long deployments to war zones and the difficulty many soldiers have resuming family life after an extended tour of duty can tear marriages apart.
If you or your spouse is in the military, divorce may be a more complex issue for you than it is for the average civilian couple. It is important to retain an attorney who understands all the special considerations involved when members of the military legally separate or divorce.
At Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beach, we understand the complex issues unique to a military divorce including:
Divorce and family law attorney Lawrence D. Burroughs II not only practices law; he teaches at Saint Leo University, including Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia and Dam Neck and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. He is experienced in handling all the issues involved in military divorce cases. Even if you are stationed out of state or out of the country, we can make certain your voice is heard and your rights are protected in all military divorce matters.
This is especially true with pensions. Non-military spouses are often entitled to receive military pensions, but the reverse is also true. If you have a pension, then your military spouse may be entitled to receive a portion of it. We can help work out an equitable agreement for you.
We can help you through each step in the divorce process efficiently and cost-effectively. If you have a substantial change in circumstances after the divorce decree is signed, we can petition the court for a post-decree modification of the court order.
Jurisdiction in Virginia divorce cases is proper where either party resides in and is a bona fide resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of filing the Complaint for Divorce and has been forsix (6) months or more next preceding the commencement of the suit for divorce. If neither party meets this requirement, then a divorce action would not be proper in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the event a complaint for divorce is filed in Virginia where jurisdiction is not proper, the court should not allow the case to advance any further. The entire case will likely need to be non-suited or dismissed.
What if the moving party resides here in Virginia, but is in the military and claims another state as his or her home of record? According to Section 20-97 of the 1950 Code of Virginia, if a person is a member of the armed forces of the United States and is stationed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and has lived for a period of six (6) months or more in Virginia next proceeding the commencement of filing, jurisdiction is proper. This includes a service member stationed on or residing on a base in Virginia.
What if the non-servicemember resides in a state other than Virginia and the service member is stationed overseas? A foreign service officer or service member who is stained overseas at the time the military divorce case is filed and who was domiciled in Virginia for at least six (6) months before being stationed overseas is considered to be a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia.
While you may be permitted to file in Virginia based on any one of the above scenarios, an attorney can help you decide whether it makes sense in your particular case. In contested cases, if the non-resident respondent protests, he or she may be successful in transferring the entire suit to another state. The same is true in a battle over venue within the state. In an uncontested case, this won't be an issue. Parties proceeding uncontested are typically filing based on no fault grounds for divorce and have most, if not all, issues worked out in advance of filing.
Whatever you decide, please consider consulting a licensed Virginia military divorce lawyer to help you make a well-informed decision.
Typically, JAG will not get involved in a military divorce matter. Divorce is a state matter, not a military or federal matter. And while a military attorney can give a person general advice about separation and divorce procedures, it is not advisable. To be fair, JAG is not involved in these matters on a daily basis. Even if a JAG officer handling such a matter is licensed in Virginia, he or she is NOT a Virginia military divorce lawyer. The military is most likely concerned with assisting it's servicemembers or their spouses in resolving dispute(s) quickly and efficiently, with as little, if any, impact on the servicemember's military duties. Balancing the military's interest of defending our nation with a servicemember's legal interests in a civil proceeding is challenging at best. These interests are often in conflict with one another and a servicemember will likely fair much better with a Virginia military divorce lawyer, than with a JAG officer.
So many people are misinformed on this topic. This can result in harm to the person seeking to exercise his or her rights in a servicemember's military pension. They myth we hear most often is that a couple must be married a minimum of ten (10) years in order to acquire any benefit in a servicemember's military pension. Somehow, this myth is derived from the 20/20/10 rule concerning direct pay by DFAS of a servicemember's military pension and it couldn't be further from the truth. While there is no bright line rule when it comes to military pensions, the portion that was acquired during a marriage may be subject to equitable distribution in Virginia.
According to Section 20-107.3 of the Virginia Code, the amount of any division or transfer of jointly owned marital property, and the amount of any monetary award, the apportionment of marital debts, and the method of payment shall be determined by the court after consideration of eleven (11) factors. They are as follows:
What this essentially means is, the portion of the military pension that is acquired during the marriage is divisible by the court. There is no ten (10) year threshold when it comes to eligibility.
A common formula goes something like this: First, determine the marital share of the servicemember's military pension by dividing the number of years that a couple is married that overlap with the servicemember's creditable military service by the total number of years of the servicemember's creditable military service. Then multiply the result by the non-servicemember's share of the marital share. This number is generally fifty percent (50%). This formula is not binding in any way, but it is an easy way to figure out how the military pension may be divided by the court.
As an example, say a couple is married for a total of ten (10) years and that five (5) of those years overlapped with the servicemember spouse's twenty (20) years in the United States Navy. This means that the fraction is five years over twenty years and the result being twenty-five percent (25%). In this example, twenty-five percent (25%) of the servicemember's military pension with the United States Navy is the marital share. If the non-servicemember's share is equal to fifty percent (50%), then that spouse would be entitled to fifty percent (50%) of twenty-five percent (25%) of the servicemember's military pension, or twelve and one-half percent (12.5%). So, you see, in this case, a five (5) year marriage resulted in the non-servicemember spouse acquiring a twelve and one-half percent (12.5%) share of the military pension.
Again, it's not set in stone, but it is a good starting point.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot more often than people tend to believe. What it amounts to is person filing a complaint for divorce with a Virginia Circuit Court and then having the servicemember served in any manner authorized under Sections 8.01-296 or 8.01-320 of the Virginia Code. Some serve the servicemember at his or her home knowing full well that he or she is deployed. This is one of the reasons that Section 8.01-15.2 of the Virginia Code was enacted. It requires that a plaintiff file with the court an affidavit stating whether the defendant is in the United States military and showing necessary facts to support the affidavit; or if the plaintiff is unable to determine whether the defendant is in the United States military, stating that the plaintiff is unable to determine whether the defendant is in the United States military before the court will enter a judgment by default in any civil action or proceeding in which the defendant does not make an appearance.
Any judgment by default entered by any court in any civil action or proceeding in violation of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act may be set aside as provided by the Act. This is not, however, a ground to set aside an otherwise valid default judgment against a defendant who was not, at the time of service of process or entry of default judgment, a service member.
If you learn that your spouse has served you by some form of substituted service, knowing you are deployed and that you are otherwise protected under the SCRA, you should contact and hire a qualified Virginia military divorce lawyer immediately. While you are protected by law and may have recourse after a judgment by default is improperly entered, you can avoid that mess and still request that the court take notice of your spouse's misrepresentation.
As with many legal questions, the answer depends. Effective July 1, 2014, Section 20-103 of the Virginia Code is amended to provide that a court may "compel a party to maintain any existing policy owned by that party insuring the life of either party or to require a party to name as a beneficiary of the policy the other party or an appropriate person for the exclusive use and benefit of the minor children of the parties and to allocate the premium cost of such life insurance between the parties, provided that all premiums are billed to the policyholder. Nothing in [this clause] shall be construed to create an independent cause of action on the part of any beneficiary against the insurer or to require an insurer to provide information relating to such policy to any person other than the policyholder without the written consent of the policyholder."
If the beneficiary designation is changed on a life insurance policy prior to a complaint being filed with a Virginia Circuit Court, then technically there is nothing to prevent a person from doing this other than restrictions imposed by the insurance provider itself. Even after a complaint for divorce is filed in Virginia, it is the plaintiff's responsibility to request this type of relief. If the plaintiff is proceeding pro se (without an attorney) or his or her attorney did not think to request this on the plaintiff's behalf, there may be no court-ordered prohibition against it. Even if that is the case, you should consult an attorney before making the decision to remove your spouse as a beneficiary on any life insurance policies if you are contemplating a separation or divorce. While you may be permitted to do so, you may choose not to after being more fully informed.
The Virginia courts are permitted to enter an order regarding issues of child custody, visitation, and child support while a servicemember is deployed. That being the case, any court order limiting previously ordered custodial or visitation rights of a deploying parent or guardian due to the parent's or guardian's deployment shall specify the deployment as a basis for the order and shall be entered by the court as a temporary order in accordance with Section 20-124.8 of the Virginia Code.
The deploying parent may also petition the court to delegate visitation to a family member, including a stepparent, with whom the child has a close and substantial relationship. Upon finding that such delegation is in the best interests of the child, the court may enter an order delegating visitation that:
When the deploying parent or guardian is returning from deployment and he or she seeks to amend or review a custody or visitation order entered based upon deployment, the court shall set a hearing on the matter within 30 days of the filing of said motion.
The answer to this questions depends on the duration of the marriage that overlaps with a servicemember's years of creditable military service. Here are a few thresholds to consider:
The first threshold is for a couple with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service, but fewer than ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. The former military spouse is not entitled to any military benefits other than medical coverage availability through the Continued Health Care Benefits Program to include TRICARE or TRICARE Prime. If elected, Continued Health Care Benefits Program is available for up to thirty-six (36) months (conditions may apply). As of 2014, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program costs $1,193.00 per quarter for individuals and $2,682.00 per quarter for families. The former military spouse is responsible for paying for this coverage. Minor children born or adopted by the servicemember are eligible for continued medial and dental coverage as dependents as well as any other dependent military privileges.
If the former military spouse is court ordered to receive a share of the servicemember's military pension, then that payment must be paid by the servicemember him or herself. DFAS will not make direct payments to former military spouse recipients. At twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service, DFAS will pay the former military spouse recipient directly.
The next threshold is twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least fifteen (15) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. In addition to the benefits provided for servicemembers with ten (10) or fewer years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service, the former military spouse is entitled to one (1) year of transitional medical benefits. If he or she elects to continue coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program, that can effectively extend coverage for up to a total of four (4) full years.
The final threshold is twenty (20) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. In this case, a former military spouse is entitled to all military benefits and installation privileges, including medical, commissary, and exchanges.
A former military spouse with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service is entitled to receive direct payments of his or her court ordered share of the servicemember's disposable retired pay. The former military spouse may also elect to receive continued medical coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program for up to thirty-six (36) months at his or her own cost. Said election must be made within sixty (60) days of the loss of TRICARE eligibility.
A former military spouse with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least fifteen (15) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service is entitled to receive one (1) year of transitional medical benefits. The former military spouse may also elect to receive continued medical coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program for up to thirty-six (36) months at his or her own cost. Said election must be made within sixty (60) days of the loss of TRICARE eligibility.
A former military spouse with at least twenty (20) years of marriage that overlap with twenty (20) or more years of creditable military service may continue to receive full medical coverage through TRICARE and all other military benefits provided to spouses of military servicemembers.
Depending on where the new duty station is located, it may have little or no impact on child custody or visitation. There are a number of military installations in the Hampton Roads area:
United States Navy
United States Army
If the active duty military spouse is able to select a duty station in close proximity to his or her current duty station, it may be business as usual. If, however, he or she accepts orders that are not local, this may impact child custody and visitation in Virginia significantly. At a minimum, the minor child or children will not have the benefit of regular contact with both parents. Whether the minor child(ren) live with the relocating servicemember or is (are) staying behind with the former military spouse, it is generally not feasible for parents to share joint physical custody. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement and both insist on maintaining sole physical custody, then they will likely find themselves back in a Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. A non-local move should be considered a material change in circumstances warranting court intervention to help the parties reach a decision based on the best interests of the child(ren). Even where they may be able to resolve custody, visitation will probably need to be addressed as well. A child custody lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA should be contacted to provide representation in any contested child custody or visitation matter. Your child custody lawyer should also be well versed in military divorce and/or child-related matters.
Willful desertion or abandonment requires both the breaking off of cohabitation and an intent to desert in the mind of the offender. Generally, a servicemember knows when he or she will be receiving duty station orders and the decision to select from among the shortlist of options provided is considered carefully by both parties. The act of accepting orders to a non-local duty station does not necessarily in and of itself constitute desertion or abandonment in Virginia. Remember, it is the burden of the party making this allegation to prove the offender's intent. From a practical standpoint, this is nearly impossible. If the deserter will not outright share his or her honest thoughts with a court regarding his or her intent, a court is left to infer intent based on his or her actions.
If desertion grounds exist, a suit for a divorce from bed and board may be filed immediately and it may be merged into an absolute divorce after one full year has elapsed from the date of desertion.
The civilian law enforcement officers cannot help you if there is a violation of a military protective order in Virginia. They are left in the same position as if no such order existed. The military protective order places conditions on a servicemember's liberty. Unlike a Virginia civilian legal system that requires a judge to grant a protective order, in the military, any commissioned officer can impose a condition on liberty of any enlisted member. Only a commanding officer of who's authority the member is subject can impose a condition on a commissioned or warrant officer. This authority cannot be delegated.
A civilian protective order in Virginia, on the other hand, is a legal document issued by a state judge or magistrate to protect the health and safety of a person who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Virginia protective orders may be obtained by just about anyone who alleges abuse or threats of violence. If granted, a court can address issues of child custody, visitation, and child support; property issues involving the marital residence; and support for the victim spouse for up to two full years. A military protective order does not carry with it the full weight and authority of the Virginia courts.
So, to answer your questions, yes. If you are the victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places you in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury, you should seriously consider requesting a permanent protective order. If you are someone accused of such activity, but believe it is simply unwarranted, you should hire a qualified family law attorney who handles these types of cases.
The portion of a servicemember's military pension that is acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This means a court will consider that portion of the military pension to be an asset of the parties to a divorce that may be divided.
In lieu of court intervention, parties can always agree to waive interest in each other's military pension or divide it by agreement. If they can't agree, a court can divide it for them. As an equitable distribution state, the court is not necessarily required to divide marital property equally. Instead, Virginia courts are required to consider all of the factors detailed in Section 20-107.3 of the Virginia Code. More often than not, this usually ends up in a near 50/50 split; however, there is nothing in the code that binds the court in any way. In most cases, however, a former military spouse will end up receiving one half of the marital share of the servicemember's military pension.
Something that is often overlooked by many (including Virginia divorce attorneys) is the impact a servicemember's Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) disability may have on the former military spouse's share of the military pension. VA disability compensation is meant to cover injuries or disabilities that occurred while on active duty, or which were made worse by active service, including mental or physical injuries that are service-connected. Servicemembers must waive a certain amount of retired pay in order to receive VA disability compensation and this amount, if any, cannot be divided between spouses in a state divorce court, thus reducing the amount available to the former military spouse. It is essentially as if a civilian pension recipient were able to waive a portion of his or her retirement to avoid paying taxes on an amount that is simply reclassified as disability pay. The money is still there; however, it is treated differently for tax purposes. In this case, however, a former military spouse will receive a reduced share of his or her interest in the military pension due to the action of the retired servicemember.
To address this concern, effective January 1, 2014, service members may be entitled to concurrent receipt of military retired pay and disability compensation. Disability retirees retiring with twenty (20) or more years of service are entitled to military retired pay and disability compensation for a service connected disability rated fifty percent (50%) or more, or a combination of service-connected disabilities rated fifty percent (50%) or more. This means the former military spouse is made whole in these cases. The same is not true in cases where the rating is less than fifty percent (50%).
Just as a portion of any military pension acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution, so to are all other retirement and/or investment accounts. The challenge most people face is in determining what the offset, if any, should be when both spouses in a Virginia divorce have these types of accounts. Since a military pension is a defined benefit plan, there is no simple way to determine what the equivalent offset should be in a defined contribution plan. Also, as a defined benefit plan, the distribution to a former military spouse occurs as each monthly payment is made. To be as fair as possible, the more tedious route of dividing each account in half may make sense. The problem arrises, however, when the servicemember passes away soon after he or she begins receiving retirement benefits. Without the Survivor Benefit Plan or other life insurance product, the former military spouse would effectively lose his or her share of the military pension. Anyone in this position should consider consulting with a knowledgeable military divorce attorney before negotiating any sort of settlement.
There are two components to this questions: Military and Civilian Spousal Support.
First, take a look at how the United States Navy (Military) informs it's sailors on the issue of spousal support:
According to MILPERSMAN, in those cases where the amount of support has not been fixed by a competent court order or mutual agreement, the support scale set forth below may be used as a guide until such time as a mutual agreement is reached or a court order obtained.
NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS AND AMOUNT OF SUPPORT TO BE PROVIDED IN THE ABSENCE OF A MUTUAL AGREEMENT OR COURT ORDER:
Note: Gross pay includes basic pay and basic allowance for housing (BAH) if entitled, but does not include hazardous duty pay, sea or foreign duty pay, incentive pay, or basic allowance for subsistence.
Next, consider what the Virginia Code and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court or Circuit Court judges have to say.
According to Section 16.1-278.17:1 of the Virginia Code, there is a presumption in any judicial proceeding for pendente lite spousal support and maintenance that the amount of the award that would result from the application of the formula set forth in this section is the correct amount of spousal support to be awarded. The court may deviate from the presumptive amount. If the court is determining both an award of pendente lite spousal support and maintenance and an award of child support, the court shall first make a determination of the amount of the award of pendente lite spousal support, if any, owed by one party to the other under this section. If the parties have minor children in common, the presumptive amount of an award of pendente lite spousal support and maintenance shall be the difference between 28% of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 58% of the payee spouse's monthly gross income. If the parties have no minor children in common, the presumptive amount of the award shall be the difference between 30% of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 50% of the payee spouse's monthly gross income. For the purposes of this section, monthly gross income shall have the same meaning as it does in section Section 20-108.2, as amended.
Confused yet? Bear in mind that the above pendente lite support guidelines are intended to be temporary in nature. Spousal support in Virginia is ultimately factor based. Section 20-107.1 of the Virginia Code, requires that the court consider the circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including adultery and any other ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision (3) or (6) of Sections 20-91 or 20-95. In determining the nature, amount and duration of an award pursuant to this section, the court shall consider the following:
So, how much spousal support am I required to pay my spouse if I'm active duty military? Unless ordered by your command or a judge, the answer is nothing. The real question you should be asking yourself is: How much spousal support should I pay to my spouse? Maybe you're paying the mortgage and utilities for the marital residence where your spouse and children are staying. Perhaps you're paying off joint marital debt by agreement. Maybe the disparity in income is negligible. In the end, only a civilian judge can order either party to pay spousal support to the other. To help make sense of what your support obligations may be pending a divorce, you should consult a divorce attorney in Virginia before making any decisions that may impact your individual case.
The Virginia Code has no requirement that a servicemember give his or her spouse any portion of the BAH. The military doesn't really see it any differently. Generally speaking, BAH is an entitlement to the servicemember, not his or her spouse. If the servicemember is not sufficiently supporting the marriage or is allegedly committing fraud on the government, it is likely an issue better suited for his or her command. While the civilian family law courts in Virginia can and do address issues of alimony, support, and maintenance, they do not require that a servicemember give his or her BAH to the non-military spouse.
TRICARE is a health benefit program for the United States uniformed services and include the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Navy, and the Public Health Service. To benefit from TRICARE, a person must be listed in DEERS as being eligible for military health care benefits. In general, unmarried children of active duty service members are eligible for TRICARE. If a formerly dependent child by way of marriage only was not adopted, that child's coverage may cease as a result of the divorce.
There is no hard fast rule about which parent is required to provide medical (health) and/or dental insurance coverage for the minor child(ren); however, the bottom line is, someone will. If coverage is available on both sides, the parties should first determine which plan provides the best benefits for the lowest cost. Since this is factored into the Virginia child support guidelines at the time child support is established, it would make sense for the parties to figure this out ahead of time. The out of pocket expenses for co-pays and co-insurance can quickly add up and the parties should strive to avoid these wherever possible. Also, in accordance with Section 20-108.2 of the Virginia Code, any costs for health care coverage and dental coverage, when actually being paid by a parent or that parent's spouse, to the extent such costs are directly allocable to the child or children, and which are the extra costs of covering the child or children beyond whatever coverage the parent or that parent's spouse providing the coverage would otherwise have, shall be added to the basic child support obligation.
Child support is calculated the same for military divorce cases as it is in any other Virginia child support related matter. In Virginia, the presumptive award of child support is calculated according Section 20-108.2 of the Virginia Code and the child custody arrangement between the parents. A Virginia lawyer well versed in child support can run these guidelines for you in very little time. These guidelines are amended as of July 1, 2014.
We offer our military divorce services for one flat fee. To arrange a free introductory consultation, please contact us at your earliest convenience.
This is a divorce where both parties meet the statutory requirements for divorce in Virginia and have no contested issues. The ideal candidates for this type of divorce have entered into a separation agreement, have no children, and the non-moving party (the spouse who did not initiate the suit) has signed a valid waiver. The spouse who initiates the suit will typically appear in court with his/her witness and it will be over in a matter of minutes. If the non-moving party is an active duty service member and wishes not to appear, you'll want to execute an additional waiver to address this issue as well.
The short answer is, yes. The better questions should be, "Why wouldn't you hire a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?" There are plenty of online services that will help facilitate this process for only a minimal investment. In fact, most attorneys doing this type of work tend not to charge very much either. Why not have an attorney with you for roughly the same price as it costs to do something online? Let your attorney file the paperwork, deal with the waiver and appear with you in court. It's worth the small investment if your situation is one which would benefit from this type of proceeding. If you are comfortable working online, have everything worked out, and do not require any legal advice, we have a low-cost online option available to you with Frugal Legal Services. Of course, if you need any legal advice, we can still meet at our prevailing hourly rate. The choice is yours!
The Virginia Code outlines a number of fault-based grounds for divorce in Virginia. Among them are the standards such as adultery, imprisonment of a spouse for more than one year, abandonment for a year or more, and cruelty. If you feel you have a valid ground for divorce, you should speak with an attorney immediately. Some of the aforementioned grounds do not require a waiting period of any duration and other ramifications may be applicable as well. Long ago, divorces would only be granted when one of these fault-based grounds was present.More common these days, is the no-fault divorce. Virginia recognizes this type of divorce. In fact, it is by far the most common type of divorce we see in our practice, even in contested matters.
In order to qualify for this type of divorce, a few requirements must be met:
If there are children from the marriage, the couple must be separated for a year or more prior to filing. The couple must have been separated for this period of time with the intent to remain separate and apart with no reconciliation possible. The same holds true for a couple without children from the marriage where there is no separation agreement. If a couple with no children from the marriage wishes to take advantage of a shorter duration of separation, there must be a validly executed separation agreement in effect. This shortens the period from one year to six months.
More often than not, contested divorces can drag out for a substantial period of time and cost a lot of money. It is often recommended that couples seek mediation prior to litigation whenever possible and the courts, in fact, will often order the parties into mediation.
If you're facing the prospect of divorce you should consider consulting with a competent attorney today. If you feel there is any possibility for reconciliation, we can help you with selecting programs for married couples and/or counseling. When reconciliation does not appear to be within the realm of possible outcomes, call us at 757-363-0077 to schedule a free 20-minute introductory consultation.
There are a number of scenarios with adoption that are both expensive and time consuming. Stepparent adoption, however, doesn't need to be one of them. Where the stepfather wishes to adopt his step-son/daughter and the birth mother joins in on the petition, things tend to go smoothly. This is especially true when the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable or he consents to the adoption.
If you find your situation to be similar to the previously referenced scenario, call us today so we can get the process started for you. If your situation varies slightly and you wish to move forward, call us as well. We'll walk you through the process and work with you to accomplish your goal of adoption.
One of the biggest concerns people have about divorce is their financial circumstance before, during and after divorce proceedings. This is an understandably important matter and requires an attorney who will give you experienced and straight-forward divorce counsel in Virginia. Spousal support or alimony is sometimes an option for parties seeking a divorce. Unlike child support, in which a child has a right to the support, spousal support is completely conditional on the specific circumstances at hand.
For more information about alimony or spousal support in Virginia, and how the laws apply to your particular case, please reach out to us at Burroughs Law Office, P.C.. Family law attorney Lawren D. Burroughs, has extensive divorce representation experience. He will help you get through even the most complex of alimony cases. If you want an attorney who will give you honest and effective alimony advice, contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C.. We offer new clients free introductory consultations. The goal is to get to know you as a person, the situation you are in and proceeding with the best possible course of action for you - not some cookie-cutter approach.
There is a common misconception that fault is a basis for excluding alimony. This is not true. Regardless of a person's actions (such as adultery) alimony is dependent only upon the relevant factors courts consider. The court will weigh all the factors in deciding whether alimony is merited, how much and how often. These factors include (§ 20-107.1):
These are just some of the many factors the Virginia courts will look at in determining spousal maintenance. We will make sure spousal support is decided fairly and equitably in your divorce.
Under Virginia law, § 16.1-278.17:1, the court may award pendente lite spousal support. This is temporary alimony that is awarded to the spouse earning less money until a permanent order is handed down. Alimony pendente lite is determined during preliminary civil proceedings. The statute provides a specific formula used to calculate this temporary support.
Parties in a divorce where either spouse has a military pension can complicate spousal support issues. We will help you understand how applicable laws may affect your pension and whether this also affects your spousal support.
Once a divorce decree is entered, not all terms are set in stone forever. Spousal support, child support and child custody are issues that can be modified in certain cases. For example, if one spouse remarries or loses their job, spousal support can be modified in order to adjust to these new circumstances. If you require a modification in your support order, we can help you seek a post-decree modification.
Contact an Experienced Norfolk Spousal Support LawyerWe understand that you likely have many questions and even frustrations regarding spousal support issues. Talk to our skilled Virginia Beach alimony attorney today. Contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C., to arrange a free introductory consultation.
Property and debt division can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. It can also be one of the most legally complex. At Burroughs Law Office, P.C., in Virginia Beach, we help clients effectively deal with asset division and work out a agreement that meets their financial interests and needs.
Virginia divides property equitably, which is not always "equally." This means that marital assets and debts are divided in a way that is fair, considering all the circumstances.
Property division is more than deciding who keeps the house and car. You need a lawyer who can help you understand the intricacies and issues of dividing marital property and debt. You need one who has the experience and knowledge to give you sound, practical advice about your options. You need an attorney who can effectively negotiate a fair outcome on your behalf. At Burroughs Law Office, P.C., that is exactly what you receive. Complex Asset and Debt Division
For people who own businesses or who have a complicated interweaving of marital and non-marital assets, the process of dividing property can be quite complicated.
To help you properly value business assets, retirement accounts, trust funds, investments and the like, we can hire financial accountants and other experts to properly identify and evaluate the assets. At Burroughs Law Office, P.C., we help our clients protect their assets and their interests, making sure they receive their equitable share under the law.
At Burroughs Law Office, we are highly skilled at handling the special issues involved military divorces. One of those issues is the proper division and protection of military pay, pensions and other government benefits. Attorney Lawrence D. Burroughs II is focused on resolving the issues amicably and favorably.
Whether you have a small amount of marital property or you need an attorney to help unravel the intricate web of assets during a divorce, we can help. Contact us today for a free introductory consultation.
If you are faced with the prospect of losing your child in a bitter custody battle, or if you need help establishing, enforcing or modifying child support, you will want to have the right person by your side. Contact the Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beach today for your free introductory consultation.
Judges consider many factors when determining who should receive custody of a child. These factors are intended to establish what is truly in the child's best interest. In some cases it only takes one factor to tip the scales in favor of one parent over the other.
The factors that the judge should consider in deciding what is in the child's best interests include (see Section 20-124.3 of the Virginia Code):
Other factors the judge may consider include where the child(ren) will reside, which parent will be in a better position to manage the daily affairs of the child, how siblings will be affected, and whether either parent is involved in a new relationship. When it comes to child custody in Virginia, the courts lean toward joint physical custody all things being equal. Whatever your individual situation may be, focus on what is best for your child(ren).
Whether you are petitioning for custody or want the court to reconsider a decision based on new information, you should seek the advice of a competent lawyer in your area.
Believe it or not, the same best interests of the child standard is applied in cases involving child visitation in Virginia. To help determine a schedule of child visitation that makes sense for your children in cases where physical custody is something other than joint or shared, a good way to start is to first put yourself in the position of the noncustodial parent. What visitation do you believe would best serve your child(ren) if your spouse were to have sole physical custody? If your life permits, I am confident you would want something more than a day or weekend here or there. You'd want as much time with your child(ren) as you could get and your children would likely want that too.
Once you've thought through what type of visitation you'd want with your child(ren), the next step is to reverse your roles. Why isn't what is good for your and your child(ren) good for the other parent? This is also a good way of dealing with long distance parents. While this isn't foolproof, considering visitation from this perspective often helps parents focus on their children rather than on themselves.
Sure, it's not ideal. You likely never saw yourself in this position, having to deal with visitation in this way. Let's be honest, if you're fighting over custody and/or visitation, nothing else in your life will seem to be going well until this is sorted out. Every good parent feels this way. Focus on being the best parent for your child(ren) and encourage the child(ren)'s other parent to do the same. Their future may very well depend on it.Our firm can help you reach a resolution on your terms, as parents, or can provide competent legal representation in any legal dispute involving your child(ren). Call (757) 363-0077 to speak with a Virginia Beach child custody-visitation lawyer today!
Attorney Lawren D. Burroughs negotiates, mediates or litigates to achieve an appropriate result regarding child support payments. Whether you are seeking to establish, modify or enforce child support payments, we will be there for you. We also help with issues of spousal support or alimony.
You are best served by an honest assessment of your circumstances. We will let you know where you stand and what your rights are. To schedule a free introductory consultation, call 757-363-0077 or toll free 1-877-743-0448 or contact us by e-mail.
As a father, I wish there were a magic wand or at least some way to make things better without throwing a child into the arena of a bitter custody dispute. I see so many parents fighting over the children, and so few fighting for them. If you're asking how to win child custody, I'd have to first start by making sure you understand the question you're asking. The legal perspective on that question would focus only on the custody battle itself, with the endgame being to win child custody (usually sole custody). This may not be what is best for the child. Viewing this question from the child's perspective often times yields something completely different. All things being equal, Virginia courts strongly encourage co-parenting in a shared custody arrangement whenever possible.
The reality for many parents in the midst of a custody battle is that they aren't getting along. One parent is likely less suited to raise a child, lacking maturity and responsibility, possibly even unfit. Maybe it's just a game and custody is a way of reducing child support. Perhaps it's an issue that still lingers from a divorce or breakup. One parent may be scorned and is using the issue of child custody to get under the other parent's skin. Whatever the case, one or both of the parents has lost sight of what is best for the child. In these cases, it's the child that suffers.
If an agreement can be reached, then by all means try that first. You are the one that has to live with what happens, not the lawyer, guardian ad litem, or family court judge. If the other parent won't come to the table and do what is best for your child, prepare to battle it out in court. In court, your case will be scrutinized by opposing counsel, a guardian ad litem, and a judge, all with different opinions and approaches to custody disputes. This is important to keep in mind, because the law is not black and white. The family law judge has a broad range of discretion and is tasked with reviewing the evidence presenting and applying this information to a long list of factors in the Virginia Code. There's no magic wand and it doesn't always turn out the way it should. Make sure you hire the best attorney for your needs and work with him or her to achieve your objective.
Before providing a description of the various custody arrangements in Virginia, it is important to understand a couple of things first. Custody is comprised of two components: legal custody and physical custody.
Sole Custody: This is the holy grail of custody in Virginia. I write this because so many people want this and don't really understand what it means. With sole custody, only one parent is responsible for the care and control of the child and make all decisions concerning the child. The non-custodial parent is not divested of his or her responsibility to support the child. That is only accomplished by the termination of his parental rights (voluptuary or otherwise) and the subsequent adoption by another. Courts are reluctant to grant sole legal custody to one parent unless it is demonstrated that the other parent is unfit. Most parents seeking sole custody are really asking for primary physical custody (sole physical custody).
Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share responsibility for the care and control of the child and make decisions concerning the child through the child's primary residence may be with only one parent. In this case either parent may have primary physical custody (sole physical custody).
Shared Custody: Both parents share physical and custodial care of the child. Both parents make decisions concerning the child well-being on a day-to-day basis. In this case, the child essentially lives in two places and does not call either one of them home to the exclusion of the other.
There are two reasons a child custody lawyer costs so much. The first may be that neither party is willing to do what is best for the child. Each may have his or her own motives for making things contentious. Some just want their day in court. In any event, that day in court costs a lot of money. The amount of work that goes into preparing for a custody battle is not often considered when emotions rule the roost. The second reason may have to do with the other parent. Maybe you are onboard with settling things on your own terms. That is, at least, something you can control. If the other parent isn't interested, however, this may not be an option for you.
The family law court process isn't the quickest and that's by design to some extent. When balancing efficiency with cost and getting things right, the courts lean toward getting it right. Rushing through a process and denying parents access to the legal system only serves to harm children in the end. Making decisions based on only a fraction of the evidence doesn't help any either. The family law courts want to ensure they have as much information as possible to help them make the best decisions possible in cases involving child custody and visitation. This means child custody lawyers and their clients have their work cut out for them. From the first consultation to the court's final disposition, family law attorneys get to know their clients, their children, and the opposing parties very well; they prepare for trial, leaving no stone unturned; and then battle it out in court. As you can guess, this takes a lot of time and can cost a lot of money. And with something as important as the future of your children, failure resulting from a lack of effort just isn't an option.
Call our Virginia Beach family law attorney today to find out how we can help.
Many people assume that with divorce comes a long period of argument, bitterness and courtroom drama. This is not always true. In fact, many divorces can be resolved amicably through open discussions and mutual agreement.
If you and your spouse can talk through issues and concerns, then divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce process may excellent choices for you. During the processes, the parties and their attorneys agree to discuss the issues without being contentious.
The goal is to work out agreements relating to custody, support, and visitation, alimony, property division; and other family issues without going to court. In a collaborative divorce, if the process fails, both sides' attorneys are required to be replaced. In either case, nothing you reveal during the process can be used against you in court later.
If you are interested in divorce mediation or collaborative law and want to learn more, please contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C., in Virginia Beach today.
Going to court is often the least productive and most expensive way to resolve issues associated with the dissolution of marriage. Often it is in the best interest of everyone involved to avoid a courtroom battle.
This firm participates and encourages, under the proper circumstances, a number of alternative methods to litigation for dealing with any number of family law matters. The courtroom is ideally the last place you should want to find yourself when problems arise in your home life, particularly when there are children involved.
If you're interested in such alternatives, contact us today for a free introductory consultation with an experienced lawyer.
Change is one thing you can be certain of in life. If your life has changed significantly since your divorce settlement was final, you may need to retain a lawyer to petition the court for a post-decree modification of your child support, child custody, visitation or alimony arrangements.
We offer quality, cost-effective legal representation. Most of our clients select our flat-fee billing arrangement so they know up front what their legal service will cost.
The court may, in certain cases, grant a petition for a post-decree modification of a court order if you or your ex-spouse has experienced a substantial change in circumstances, such as the loss of a job, a move or a remarriage.
It is vitally important that you file for a legal modification of the court order as soon as possible. The court does not recognize any informal agreements you make between your ex-spouse. And the modification is retroactive only to the date the petition for a modification was filed.
If the court ordered you to pay child support and you lost your job or were incarcerated, your obligation to pay support does not go away unless the court modifies its order. Sadly, people who do not understand this can end up owing tens of thousands of dollars in back child support.
Don't let that happen to you.
Contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C. to arrange a free introductory consultation. We represent divorced clients as well as people who were never married in modification of custody, visitation and child support.