Month: January 2016

Custody and Relocation in Virginia

“If I have sole custody, can the other parent prevent me from relocating with my child?” Possibly, depending on how the move will impact the child and the current visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent. Father and Kids In any custody case, the court will order that both parents provide at least 30 days advanced written notice to the other party and the court prior to any intended move. This time period allows the other parent to contest a move they may disagree with, or that may have a negative impact on the child. Once a parent files their objection to the relocation, it is up to the relocating parent to prove that the move is in the best interests of the child. The court will focus on the following major factors in considering any relocation case: 1) the effect relocation will have on the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child; 2) how drastically the relocation will effect the non-custodial parent’s visitation with the child; 3) the reasons why the custodial parent wishes to relocate, including contact with extended family, economic stability, and employment opportunities. In cases where the non-custodial parent has little to no involvement with the child, the court is more likely to allow the custodial parent to relocate. Additionally, the court will apply the factors of 20-124.3 to determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child. Those factors include the willingness of each parent to facilitate and support the child’s contact with the other parent, the needs and important relationships of the child, and the role each parent has played in the upbringing and care of the child. If relocation is granted, the court will need to address visitation. Generally, the non-custodial parent’s visitation will increase in duration to account for longer travel time. The court will essentially “make-up” for the lost time of shorter, more frequent visitation periods.

Legal Advice for When You Win the Lottery

Now that the lottery has reached a record $1.4 billion, many people are rushing to buy tickets and, better yet, make plans for what to do with all of their winnings. But the dreaded “lottery curse” exists for a reason (read more here). Many lotto players may not consider the financial responsibility, and better yet, estate planning options they could have at their disposal with the record winnings. Here are a few handy tips to avoid the dreaded curse: 1) Safeguard your ticket: As soon as you find out your ticket is a winner, you should sign the back of it, scan yourself a copy, and move it to a secure location. 2) Remain anonymous (if permitted): Some states allow lotto winners to remain anonymous, even for a short period of time. Use this time to your advantage and begin talking with a financial planner and attorney to make sure you are protected moving forward. Some states allow trust recipients or LLC recipients to remain anonymous, so find out all your options before going public. Remaining anonymous has the obvious benefit of avoiding those unwanted calls from family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who are looking for hand-outs. 3) Keep your eyes on the prize: Just because you’ve claimed your earnings and remained semi-anonymous doesn’t mean your work is over. Even a large jackpot will require smart management in order to maximize your profits. You should keep in touch with your financial planner, attorney, and CPA to ensure you (and your descendants) stay rich for a long time. These experts will help you navigate risk and avoid unnecessary tax liability. 4) Review your estate plan: Most likely that Will you hand-wrote on the back of a napkin that one time won’t cut it anymore. The federal estate tax kicks in for estates valued over $5 million dollars, and could be a hefty hit to your beneficiaries. Establishing a trust, or several trusts, will help ensure privacy of your estate and avoid that large tax penalty.

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