Powell Radomsky, PLLC
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Fairfax Family Law Blog

Will coronavirus affect child custody agreements?

Many people are worried about the potential effects of coronavirus on their health and their job. While some parents are struggling to juggle home schooling their children with their workday, others are concerned with just seeing their children. If two parents share custody of their kids, they may have questions how to handle their agreement during this viral pandemic. Fortunately for families all across Virginia, experts have suggestions for how to handle this aspect of child custody.

Some courts have specifically decreed that the self-quarantining measures should not affect current custody agreements. In certain areas of the country, a parent who fails to comply with a custody order could face jail time or a significant fine. A court may decide not to enforce those measures, given these exceptional circumstances. However, some parents are worried that if they try to keep their children, in an effort to minimize their potential exposure to coronavirus, doing so could negatively impact future custody proceedings.

Grandparents with child custody request financial support

Families in Virginia come in many varieties, and sometimes, children are raised by other relatives besides their parents. The recent opioid crisis has resulted in a rise in the number of grandparents who are raising their own grandchildren. This is because adults addicted to opioids are often unable to raise their children. Though most grandparents are more than willing to take on the responsibility, child custody is straining their financial resources. One out-of-state lawmaker is hoping to help grandparents with the added costs.

The senator wants to utilize money from a fund known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Though these grandparents receive medical care and food stamps from the state, they are still struggling financially, especially when they need to care for more than one grandchild. In that state alone, almost 77,000 grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren, with nearly half of them giving care for five years or longer.

Study says most people not ready for possibility of divorce

Most people don't enter into marriage thinking that it will end in divorce. However, that's exactly what happens to many couples across Virginia. The fact that people often don't think it can happen to them means that it can come as a great surprise, one that they often aren't ready for, either emotionally or financially. A recent study showed exactly how prevalent the idea of being unprepared for divorce may be.

A large investment company conducted a survey of 2,000 adults. It wanted to determine how prepared people felt for typical major life events, such as retirement. The overwhelming majority, 87%, said they felt secure in their own ability to manage their finances on their own, even if they got divorced or their spouse died. However, 41% of those same respondents admitted that they do not have a specific plan on dealing with the possibility. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to be prepared for losing a spouse, with only 36% of women saying they didn't feel prepared, versus 45% of men.

Can I get spousal support?

Even when it is for the best, divorce can be a financially strenuous process. You might go from a double income household to living off just your own paycheck. Maybe you stayed home with your children or were a caretaker for a loved one, which means that your current job prospects are not the best. This is on top of splitting up your marital assets, which also affects your finances. The good news is that spousal support can help.

Also called alimony, spousal support can be key to your future financial stability. However, your ex might not be thrilled at the idea of having to pay. Better understanding what factors influence spousal support can help you protect your own interests.

County offers amnesty for those behind in child support

The needs of children in Virginia don't change just because their parents aren't in a relationship with one another. When that happens, often one parent will make child support payments to the parent with primary custody. These payments are meant to help care for the children and if they are not made, it can detrimentally affect the entire family. One county decided to combat this problem by offering a day of amnesty for those behind on their child support.

The county announced that those with a bench warrant for unpaid child support could go to a local community center on a certain day for amnesty. This means that if they went to that location and made a payment, the warrant would be dismissed. They wouldn't be arrested nor would they be questioned about why the payments were late. 

The best financial advice for people going through a divorce

Most people here in Virginia genuinely believe that when they get married, they will stay that way for the rest of their lives. That means that they may not always make the best choices for the long-term health of their finances. If they decide to get a divorce, they may find that their personal financial situation isn't what they thought it would be. Fortunately, experts have advice for those facing divorce regarding how they can take control of their finances.

The best way to start is for people to take stock of exactly what their life will look like from a financial standpoint post-divorce as well as what it looks like in the present. Many experts recommend making a budget and reviewing one's expenses to figure out what adjustments may need to take place. People can also use it as a time to determine future financial goals so they know what they are working toward. 

Parental guidance for discussing divorce with children

Parents in Virginia are often left to make difficult decisions. While some may decide to stay in an unhappy relationship because they feel it is in the best interest for their children, many come to the conclusion that children may be happier with two parents living peacefully apart rather than living together with contention. Often, informing children of the decision to divorce can be a difficult conversation to have.

Many parents have found that having a plan of what to say can help ease the conversation. Likewise, having both parents on the same page regarding how much information to give and their overall attitude toward the situation can help children as they adjust to the news. Discussing what information children need to know prior to discussing it with children can provide guidance.

Family law: Using prenuptial agreements to determine pet custody

Many couples in Virginia think of their pets as part of their family. Often, if the couple chooses to divorce, the question of what happens to the pet is a complicated one, with both people wanting to keep the pet in their lives. Because many states treat pets as property, a custody or visitation arrangement will not be ordered by the court. Fortunately, couples with pets who are considering marriage do have family law options available to them.

For example, some couples are detailing what will happen to their pets in a prenuptial agreement. One attorney claims to have seen a significant increase in the number of couples using such a tool to prevent a tug-of-war over their pets. The subject of a vast majority of these agreements -- approximately 88% -- include dogs.

Did your spouse file a divorce petition in a Virginia court?

If you're one of many Virginia spouses for whom a divorce petition ruined your holiday season, you may have felt blindsided or a sense of betrayal. Maybe you thought you and your spouse would be able to work things out. Perhaps, you knew there were serious problems in your marriage but had hoped to wait until after the holidays to address them. Your main concern was your children and making sure they could enjoy the festive celebrations of the season.

You may never know why your spouse chose to tell you he or she wanted a divorce during the holidays. However, while you may not be able to change another person's actions, you are in control of your own reactions to the action. There are several things to keep in mind, especially when you have been caught off-guard by a spouse's request for divorce.

Tips for an amicable divorce

It goes without saying that couples never get married with the intention of someday separating. However, according to statistics, nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.  Divorce is notoriously a very emotional, painful and complicated thing to experience. Here are a few tips to help Virginia residents get through one amicably.

When marriages end, it's relatively common for all parties involved to feel negative emotions like resentment and bitterness. Although easier said than done, it is important to never let negative emotions influence decisions. It may be difficult to find things to agree on, but that is exactly what separating couples should do. Sharing a common goal is a proven way to move the divorce process along in an amicable manner.

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Powell Radomsky, PLLC

Powell Radomsky, PLLC
11350 Random Hills Road, Suite 420
Fairfax, VA 22030

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