June 26, 2014
A Virginia man, Jesse Lee Herald, chose to get a vasectomy as part of his plea agreement in a child endangerment case. The agreement will shave off up to five years of his of his prison sentence.
Herald has at least seven children by six different women, according to the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ilona White. Ms. White stated that “He needs to support the children he already has when he gets out.”
Herald plead guilty to child endangerment, hit-and-run driving, and driving on a suspended license from a December 23 car crash. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, and will have to get the vasectomy within a year of his release. He will be on probation for five years, during which time he cannot have the procedure reversed.
June 22, 2014
With graduation season in full swing, many parents are thinking about college. For parents going through a divorce, the question becomes a matter of who is going to pay for college.
In Virginia, child support ends when the child turns 18; or if the child is still attending high school and living with the custodial parent, until graduation or upon turning 19 (whichever comes first). In another words, the child support obligation does not extend to college tuition.
Therefore, it’s wise to think about including a provision for college expenses in your settlement agreement if you have children. If your children are in high school, the prospect of college is near enough to where you should be able to estimate the cost. If you have young children, you cannot be sure how your financial situation will change in the future. However, it’s still wise to negotiate with the other parent and come up with a stated portion of the expenses for each parent.
If you include the payment of college expenses in your separation agreement, and the separation agreement becomes part of the divorce decree, it is fully enforceable by the court. If your spouse isn’t following the agreement and refuses to pay his or her part of the college expenses, you can go to the court to seek a remedy.
In the District of Columbia, child support continues until the age of 21. This becomes tricky though – because college expenses are not included when running the guidelines for child support. So although the custodial parent may be receiving child support for the child until the age of 21, the monetary amount probably won’t come close to paying a fair share of the minor child’s college expenses.
Thus, even in the District of Columbia, divorcing parties should include college expenses in their separation agreement. Also in D.C., if your agreement is part of the divorce decree, you can go to the court to request enforcement.
It’s important to talk with your ex-spouse and children about expectations regarding college. If you can negotiate an agreement about college expenses with your ex-spouse, you should make sure the terms are clearly defined so no one has questions or disputes down the road.
June 13, 2014
As school comes to an end, seniors across the country play senior pranks. It’s a tradition that’s very common, and so most of the time students don’t get in much trouble about it – except to receive clean-up duty. Not the case at Varina High School in Henrico County.
Last week, 11 teenagers were charged with crimes after a senior prank. Chocolate syrup, rice, flour, and eggs were thrown around, and words were written with the chocolate syrup on walls. Permanent markers were also used to write on doors.
Some of the students are charged with felony vandalism for allegedly causing more than $1,000 damage to a public building. Some students are charged with misdemeanor trespassing. In addition to the criminal charges, the students face disciplinary actions through the school.
Most of the mess was cleaned up pretty quickly. Hundreds have signed a petition to urge the County to drop the felony charges.
So seniors – please be careful. You don’t want your senior prank to end up as a felony on your record.
June 9, 2014
No one likes to find out their spouse has been cheating. Adultery can be very difficult to prove, but it has serious consequences in divorce cases in Virginia.
1 – Adultery is crime in Virginia. In the Virginia Code, adultery is defined as a married person voluntarily having sexual relations with someone other than their spouse, and is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
2 – Adultery is a fault ground for divorce in Virginia. An innocent spouse who has not condoned the guilty spouse’s conduct has the right to obtain a divorce in Virginia. With a fault divorce based on adultery, you can file immediately (instead of waiting out the separation period). However, keep in mind that proving adultery can be very difficult. In Virginia, you must have a corroborating witness to grant a divorce. Uncorroborated testimony will not be enough. So you will likely have to hire a private investigator that can document a trail of behavior by the guilty spouse.
3 – Adultery can restrict the guilty spouse from receiving permanent spousal support. Virginia Code mandates that no alimony can be awarded to the guilty spouse, except in circumstances where a denial would constitute manifest injustice.
4 – Adultery is one factor in the equitable distribution of property. Among the factors that a Judge must consider in dividing marital property, one of them is “the circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce.”
As you can see, while adultery affects divorce in Virginia in significant ways, it could also mean more expense and time. If your spouse has committed adultery you should carefully consider whether to pursue a divorce on fault grounds or pursue a no-fault divorce instead.
June 4, 2014
Last week, police in Waynesboro arrested two men for huffing an aerosol can. Huffing is a form of inhaling intoxicants, either by the nose or mouth. Inhaling noxious fumes has been an easy and cheap way to get high. While the products are perfectly legal (such as airplane glue, fingernail polish, and cans of whipped topping), inhaling them is illegal.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic huffing can cause serious liver and kidney damage, along with permanent brain damage and loss of coordination. Other effects might include suffocation, seizures, and even death.
The two men in Waynesboro were found in a Wal-mart parking lot with an air can. In Virginia, huffing or inhaling is a Class 1 misdemeanor. One of them was deemed too intoxicated from huffing the air can, so he was taken into custody for being drunk in public. He has been charged with inhaling drugs as well as public intoxication.
Huffing is becoming a serious problem across the country, and is causing serious injury or death. The difficulty in spotting it is that the high and effects are short lived. But with such grave possible consequences, it’s something that law enforcement should keep on their radar.
June 2, 2014
Divorce rates are high, and so divorce has recently lost its stigma as a failure. Instead of being embarrassed or devastated, many people are looking at it in a positive light. Divorce parties are creating the atmosphere of optimism and rebirth – the start of a new life. As a result, cake makers and event planners have seen a rise in requests for upside down black cakes.
In Iran, divorce parties are also gaining popularity, as the divorce rate in Iran has risen to 20%. The Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani recently stated that the parties are “satanic” and “poison” for Islamic society.
These parties are touted as a good measure for closure. However, when there are children involved, divorce doesn’t mean a complete end to the relationship. Custody, child support, and visitation mean the parents have to see each other on a regular basis. But some assert it’s the beginning of a co-parenting relationship, and the commencement of a new venture.
The parties can be cathartic. Something to celebrate. Today’s divorce can mean cake and eating it too.