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Richmond Virginia Family Law Blog

How domestic violence is treated in Virginia

Virginia law recognizes five different types of violence used by a partner to gain control over another. Domestic violence may also occur if the victim was an in-law who resided in the same home. These methods include physical violence, emotional abuse and sexual assault. Individuals who commit domestic violence may also do so by controlling a partner's access to money or by otherwise neglecting that person. Examples of physical violence include slapping, biting or using a weapon to harm a partner.

Emotional abuse can include calling someone names or threatening to harm family members. An individual engaging in emotional abuse might also torture a pet or threaten to do so. Sexual abuse involves forcing a partner to submit to sex acts against their will or without explicit consent. Individuals who are victims of any type of domestic abuse may be entitled to seek a protective order against their abusers.

How to protect a business from divorce

Virginia business owners might want to take steps to protect their ventures in case of a divorce. Even though the other spouse may have nothing to do with the company, it might be possible for that person to claim half of the business or half of the value that it has gained since the date of the marriage.

There are a few ways this can b avoided. One is with a pre- or pos-tnuptial agreement. It is important that both parties have independent legal counsel. There should be witnesses, and the agreement should be a fair one. However, these agreements are not airtight and can be challenged in court during the divorce, although post-nuptial agreements are scrutinized more closely than prenups.

The TCJA and the rising cost of divorce

Virginia residents who are considering getting a divorce may already be aware that the process can be very expensive. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could make marital separations that take place after 2018 even more costly.

All taxpayers should understand how certain provisions of the TCJA will affect exemptions, deductions, federal tax rates and Alternative Minimum Tax limits. People who are planning to get divorced soon should be particularly aware of the provisions that impact alimony and child support.

Taking care of finances before and after divorce

Divorce can put a former spouse under financial and emotional stress. For seniors, the process may be especially destabilizing financially as it can be shocking to go from a two-income household to just a single income. However, seniors in Virginia who are approaching or going through a divorce can take steps to mitigate the financial harm.

The divorce rate for Americans age 50 and older is double what it was in the 1990s. The phenomenon of divorcing later in life has been called "gray divorce." Those who are going through a gray divorce should keep emotions out of their financial decisions, gather their paperwork and work to maximize retirement income.

The link between profession and divorce

The job a person has tends to have a direct impact on his or her life. For instance, it can be a source of stress that affects health and relationships. In some cases, working with members of the opposite sex increases a person's chances of getting a divorce. Of course, this doesn't mean that a Virginia spouse will experience a failed marriage just because of who they work with.

Using data from Statistics Denmark, researchers found that men who worked in fields such as construction where they worked with other men were less likely to get a divorce. The research also indicated that both men and women were more likely to get a divorce if they worked in fields that required more social interaction. For instance, someone who worked in a hotel was more likely to divorce than someone who worked on a farm.

Divorce for older adults increases, but so can health problems

In 2012, a study found a surge in divorce among adults who were 50 and older. This age group was divorcing at twice the 1990 rate. Dubbed "gray divorce", researchers say the phenomenon has not slowed, and they have identified several factors that may contribute. Expectations for what marriage can offer have risen, and women are less dependent on men financially than in previous generations and thus more likely to leave their marriages. Longer life spans also may mean people are less willing to remain in an unsatisfying marriage.

However, older adults should also be aware of the risks associated with divorce in this age group. Those who are already losing friends to relocation or death may find social ties further weakened after a divorce, particularly men, who generally participate less than women in keeping those ties strong during their marriage. The long-term stress of a divorce can lead to health problems or worsen existing ones. Some people may cope poorly with depression and anxiety and turn to alcohol or overeating.

Why couples might need a prenuptial agreement

The conversation about getting a prenuptial agreement can be a difficult one, but it can also be an important document for protecting people financially. A prenup may be particularly important for people in Virginia who are going into a second marriage. If one person is bringing significant assets into the marriage, that person might want a prenuptial agreement to ensure those assets are protected in case of divorce. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the lower-earning spouse may want to make sure there will be adequate alimony payments.

Alimony payments may also be important for a spouse who leaves the workforce to stay home and care for children. While there is usually child support in this situation, it generally ends when the child is no longer a minor. However, the parent who is primarily responsible for the child may struggle to reenter the workforce.

Understanding bankruptcy and why people file

When most people in Virginia hear about bankruptcy, the first inclination is to think of it as an action taken by a failing business. While some businesses buried in debt do explore this option, bankruptcy is also becoming an increasingly common step taken by individuals and families looking to get a break from overwhelming debt. According to one study, more older adults are filing for bankruptcy to deal with significant debt under certain circumstances.

Bankruptcy refers to the legal process of relieving financial burdens by reviewing debts and liabilities, tracking assets, making repayment arrangements when possible, providing help with non-dischargeable debt, and reducing or completely eliminating some debts. Potential filers are typically urged to determine if they are legitimately unable to meet their debt obligations because bankruptcy may affect credit scores and the ability to obtain loans in the future. While meant to provide a fresh start for debt holders, bankruptcy is still widely considered to be an action that should be considered only as a last resort.

Why divorce doesn't get easier with age

Children of divorce in Virginia and throughout America are more likely to get divorced themselves. However, it doesn't mean that they will get divorced or that it makes ending a marriage any easier. Since 1990, the divorce rate for older Americans has gone up while it has gone down overall. For those over the age of 65, the rate of divorce has tripled since 1990.

The length of a marriage and whether a person has been married in the past could be factors in whether a gray divorce will take place. Older people may also be more prone to seeing their marriages end after their children leave home or they retire from a job that they enjoyed. It is important to understand that while it may be socially acceptable, a divorce later in life can have negative consequences for a person and his or her family.

Valentine's Day weddings linked to higher divorce rates

When couples in Virginia think about setting the date for their weddings, divorce may be the last thing on their minds. However, according to research conducted at the University of Melbourne, there is a correlation between the choice of wedding date made by a couple and their later probability of divorce. Couples may select a date for a wide range of reasons. In some cases, they choose one with personal significance; at other times, they choose one that is more convenient for family travel or venue rental. However, people who choose holidays and other special dates may be more likely to face problems down the road.

Researchers identified couples who marry on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, as those most likely to divorce. In analyzing data from 1 million couples, researchers found that 11 percent of the people who married on Valentine's Day had chosen to divorce within 5 years. Within 9 years, 21 percent of the Valentine's Day couples had ended their marriages. Feb. 14 was not the only day linked with a higher likelihood of a split: Couples who selected "special number days" like Sept. 9, 1999, were also more likely to later divorce.

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