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Does mutual abuse exist in domestic violence cases?

I needed a little bit of time to process the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard verdict. And then, after I processed, I needed a little distance, because I just found the whole entire thing so completely upsetting. In the wake of the trial, I’ve read article after article about how the case duped America, how we should…

Can I record a conversation in Virginia?

When tensions start to escalate, and it looks like you might be headed towards a divorce or custody case, it’s tempting to want to use whatever methods are available to you to gather the evidence you might need – up to and including recording conversations. But what’s legal varies pretty dramatically from state to state,…

Domestic Violence and Virginia Protective Orders

Whenever there is domestic violence involved in a case, we advise our clients about protective orders. It’s really one of the only tools in our arsenal available to help protect clients who are at risk from their former partners. On the one hand, it’s just a piece of paper. On the other, it works in…

What if a shelter in place order is issued? What about visitation?

I keep hearing a lot of “what ifs” lately, and it makes sense. There hasn’t been another pandemic like this in living memory, and these are exceptional times. Every morning these days, I get up and check the news, terrified of what I might see. I keep seeing news articles and hearing rumors that suggest…

When do I give up divorce negotiation and go to court?

It’s the million dollar question: “When do I give up negotiation and go to court?” At some point in many cases, there’s a time where it seems like further negotiations are pointless. When you’re at an impasse, and you just want your divorce finalized already, it’s easy to wonder whether going to court wouldn’t just…

I drafted a Separation Agreement, but he won’t sign. What next?

You’ve agonized over the decision for months – sometimes, even years. After reflection and prayer and therapy and everything else you could think of to try, you’re ready to move forward with your divorce. I’ve seen it so many times! The initial consultation is often filled with tears, but, by the end, the woman walks…

When coparents are petty

I heard a new one the other day. It doesn’t happen all that often, at this stage in the game, but yesterday it did. I was talking to a woman who told me that her child’s father, after their divorce, tried to one-up her in every single way imaginable – even with the tooth fairy!…

Know Your Judge: Virginia Custody Cases

Judges – like all of us normal, regular people – are different. They bring to their job different opinions, and different interpretations of the law. They are subject to different moods, based on what is happening in their own personal lives. This probably isn’t shocking information. But it is pretty scary, to think that you…

When Virginia Moms Lose Custody

The worst has happened. You went to court, and a judge ordered custody to your child’s father. You lost custody. You can’t believe it. You. Lost. Custody. You want to throw up. You’re panicked and terrified. What happens next? How do you get your kids back? What should you do now, and who do you…

Drug or Alcohol Use in My Virginia Custody Case

Drug or alcohol use can pose problems in a Virginia child custody case, as you can probably pretty well imagine. Judges – who are notoriously conservative, especially in Virginia, and especially when it comes to things like drug use – don’t like it. In Virginia (as in pretty much everywhere), custody cases always comes down…