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Front Royal Law Blog

How to handle a DUI stop

Let’s face it: No one has much sympathy for a driver caught behind the wheel while drunk. But just because you’ve been pulled over doesn’t mean you have to immediately plead guilty to DUI. There are steps you can take.

The first step is to remember that, even if you haven’t been arrested, everything you say and do could be used against you in court. The police officer will write a report about the incident that will include everything the officer remembers that you said or did. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what you can say or do when pulled over.

Getting a divorce

Married couples in Virginia who want to get a divorce should understand that it can be an emotionally trying process for all the people involved, and the two divorcing parties may feel as if they are at war with one another. However, getting a divorce through a collaborative process can help the two parties work together to obtain a solution and may mitigate some of the emotional damage that can occur with ending a marriage.

Divorcing couples should take some time to examine the history of their marriage to learn how to prevent their divorce from becoming a battlefield. They should recall how decision-making and the handling of conflicts were handled. Issues such as arguments becoming combative and demeaning fights or certain topics that caused disagreements can be the same issues that may cause complications during divorce negotiations.

What parents should keep in mind when making a parenting schedule

When parents in Virginia get a divorce, they may also need to create a parenting schedule. This is the plan for when the child will be with each parent. Parents can negotiate a schedule, or they can go to court where a judge will create the schedule. The disadvantage of this approach is that parents have less control over the outcome; a parent could end up with even less time than was proposed in the negotiations.

Parents who are negotiating should keep the focus on the child and not on their emotions toward one another. While they may be tempted to use the parenting schedule as a way to punish the other parent or to think of it as a win-lose situation, they should resist this. The purpose behind a parenting schedule is for the child to build a healthy relationship with both parents.

Property division options for a high-asset divorce

High-asset couples in Virginia often face certain unique challenges when they divorce. If the spouses are unable to come to their own agreements, state laws govern how they will proceed with their settlement negotiations. While this is also true for lower-income partners, wealthier spouses might have more complicated assets.

In 10 states, couples will have to contend with 'community property" legislation. This is when assets acquired during marriage must be split 50-50 in a divorce. In other states, including Virginia, the division of assets falls under 'equitable distribution." This is when marital assets are divided based on several factors, including how each person was involved in building the marital fortune. In these states, the breakdown of marital assets could be 50-50, 75-25 or 60-40. Depending on the state, a prenup or postnup would take precedence over state legislation.

Understanding how different crimes are classified

Virginia residents may be interested in learning what distinguishes a misdemeanor from a felony. Across the United States, most crimes are divided into different categories based on how serious they are. This category then determines the way that the court will treat the particular case. In most cases, individuals will serve a different amount of time in jail or prison if they commit a felony as opposed to committing a misdemeanor.

There are infractions of the law that are considered to be relatively non-serious. For example, a police officer may see a person jaywalking and write them a ticket. The individual who receives the ticket will have to pay a fine, but there is usually no jail time involved or court case. However, if the individual does not pay the fine, classification of this crime may increase, and the potential fines and penalties they receive may also increase.

Resolving marital credit card debt during a split

Virginia couples who have decided to begin the divorce process will have many things to negotiate and resolve before they can begin their new life. One of these is any joint credit card debt they incurred during the marriage. While the way this type of debt is handled during divorce depends on the state, the options that couples have to resolve it are similar throughout the country.

The one thing experts recommend is to always try to walk out of the divorce with no joint credit card debt left. One reason is because credit card companies can still go after a person for debt incurred in marriage that their ex-spouse had agreed to pay off as part of the divorce settlement. Couples can use joint savings to pay off joint credit cards and then cancel those credit cards. They could also use part of their home equity line. If these are not options, couples should divide the debt, transfer each person's part to an individual credit card and then cancel their joint credit cards. They should also file legal paperwork to establish a date of separation, so any purchases made after that can be legally considered the responsibility of the spouse making the purchase.

What is the definition of “best interests of the child?”

Child custody can be a particularly contentious part of going through a divorce. Figuring out how courts determine whether or not you will receive any custody of your children is difficult and can be stressful for parents going through the process.

You may have heard the term “best interests of the child,” many times during the custody process. But what does this really mean and how is it used to determine custody?

Making parenting time work during the holidays after divorce

Regardless of how recent a divorce is, families in Virginia living separately often deal with a mixed bag of emotions during the holidays. Since this is usually the time when kids have more time off from school, there's often an increased need to shuffle them back and forth between two homes. Add family gatherings and other obligations and traditions to the mix and it's easy to see why parents are advised to have a clear plan in place to reduce holiday stress as much as possible.

With parenting time, divorced couples are encouraged to put their children first. Some parents may benefit from developing a strong support network that includes friends, loved ones or a therapist so that they don't let lingering animosity affect arrangements. Punishing a former spouse by not letting them see their child during the holidays, for example, does more harm to the child than the other parent. A more productive approach is for parents to work out details about which days each parent will be with the child in advance.

Extra Front Royal DUI enforcement expected over holiday weekend

The holiday season is upon us. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, of course, but tonight is when you can expect to see the beginning of increased police presence in Front Royal and surrounding communities. Law enforcement agencies traditionally target drivers on the night before Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving eve is considered a heavy bar attendance night.

That means police officers are likely to be out and about looking to make arrests for drunk driving. But the heightened law enforcement won’t end after this evening -- it is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Benefits and drawbacks of nesting after divorce

Some parents in Virginia who are going through a divorce might consider an arrangement that is sometimes called nesting or birdnesting. This allows the children to remain at home while the parents alternate staying there. Usually, parents share another place that they also take turns living in when they are not with the children.

Birdnesting can offer children stability after divorce. However, experts say it is best if the arrangement only lasts for a few months. For example, parents might want to nest while their children finish out the school year. If it goes on for much longer, it may increase the likelihood of conflict between parents. This, in turn, is not good for the children. Nesting might also give children a false hope that their parents will reconcile.

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