Posts Tagged ‘legal’

New Laws Effective July 1, 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

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It’s that time of year again.  Most new laws in Virginia become effective as of July 1st each year.

There are many new laws that take effect each year and some of them really don’t seem to have a broad impact.  The news media seems to do a pretty good job of talking about the laws that are most controversial, such as the requirement for an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.  However, there are always laws that might have a personal impact that you may not have heard about such as changes to the adoption procedures.  If you are in doubt about whether or not something has changed, it is always a good idea to check.

Most of you are probably aware that as of July 1st there is a new law regarding the use of an ignition interlock system you must use on your car if you are convicted of even your first DUI.  This type of system requires you to blow into the ‘machine’ and the vehicle’s ignition system will not work if the system detects alcohol.

You may not be aware of some changes in the rules about the property tax exemptions for disabled veterans, or the fact that two-wheeled motorcycles can now drive next to each other in a lane of traffic.

The Virginia Division of Legislative Services has prepared an easy-to-read summary of the new laws for 2012 in the pdf document “In Due Course” that can be found here.  There is also a page devoted to new laws in 2012 on my website here.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Can I move my child to another state?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

I often get calls from people who want to move to another state and want to know if it’s ok to take their children.

Like most things in law, the answer is ‘it depends’.

In Virginia, if there is any sort of court ordered custody arrangement, you must notify the court and the other parent at least 30 days in advance of when you plan to move.  Why?  So the other parent has a chance to bring this up with the court before you and the child relocate.  Will the court stop you from moving?  It depends on the reasons for the relocation and the ties that the child has to family in his/her current location.  Of course the court can not stop YOU from moving, but they may order that the child not be allowed to move with you.

What if you take the child anyway?  Can the court order you to bring the child back?  The answer is ‘yes’, and if you take the child against the court’s orders this is called kidnapping and it is not something that you should take lightly.

Also, the court order means you need to notify the other parent and the court prior to any move, not just a move to another state.  You also need to notify the court and the other parent if you just move to another town, across town, or even just move next door.

What if you don’t have any sort of court ordered custody?  In that case, either ‘legal’ parent may move and take the child with them.  Which brings up the next question, who is a ‘legal’ parent?

Generally, if the woman is married at the time of birth, her husband is presumed to be the father of the child, and he will be the ‘legal’ father even if everyone knows he is not the biological father.  In order to have this changed, you must go to court to get  paternity established so that another man can become the ‘legal’ father.

In the case of adoption, the court can name a legal mother and/or a legal father who is not related to the child biologically.

If you are a legal parent of the child and there is no court order regarding the custody of that child, then the answer to the question about a move is ‘yes’, you can move your child to another state even if this means moving the child away from the other legal parent.

If you think this might be a problem for you, then you might want to consider getting a court order to establish a custody arrangement.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Watch what you put on Facebook!

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

We all know that you shouldn’t put things like your home address or phone number on facebook.  But a lot of people put things on Facebook that can really ‘come back to bite  you’.  Talking to a good friend in person or on the phone is one thing, but typing some things onto Facebook can cause very severe repercussions, especially if you are in some sort of legal situation.  Privacy settings get changed relatively often these days and you really don’t know who is reading what you post.

In fact, you should always assume that whatever you post is being seen by everyone, including your soon-to-be-ex or his/her attorney and the Guardian Ad Litem that has been assigned to help the court make a custody decision.  Posting derogatory remarks about your spouse often backfires and leads the decision-makers to think poorly about you and your ability to co-parent your children effectively.

Talking about a new boyfriend and what a great weekend you spent together with your kids will possibly send you back to court when your children’s father points out that there was a court order that did not allow you to have overnight visitors of the opposite sex when the children were present.

Talking about your adventures on the new horse at the stable where you ride will not show you in a good light when you are brought into court for failure to provide the child for visitation and your excuse was that you are in a high-risk pregnancy that does not allow you to drive for over an hour to bring your child to his other parent after you moved away to be in a different state with your new husband.

Stories and pictures of you skiing do not help when you are trying to get disability or workman’s comp because of a back injury.

Bragging about having a new wide-screen TV that ‘fell off the back of the truck’ just might show up as evidence in a criminal investigation.

A picture of you with someone might be used as evidence that you and the person knew each other even though you say you never met.

Pictures of you with your ‘friend’ might just show up in your divorce proceeding as evidence of an extra-marital affair.  Or pictures of you out drinking with your buds might just show up in your custody case.

And don’t forget that potential employers might be reading when you write that your job is soooo boring and the time and date stamp of the post shows that you post on Facebook a lot while you are supposedly working.  I especially like the posts that tell the world that you think your boss is a ___ (fill in the blank).

You might think I’m just making this stuff up, but I’m not.  These things are really happening.

Text messages and Facebook posts are showing up more often in legal actions and they can often derail your legal plans.

Just be careful of what you post.  Remember that what you post, or what comments you make, are not just being seen by your closest friends.  Your fiercest enemy might also be watching!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

July is Sandwich Generation Month!

Monday, July 4th, 2011

When I hear the word ‘Sandwich’ I tend to think of Peanut-Butter and Jelly, which always brings a smile to my face.

But there is a new way of viewing ‘Sandwich’ that is not so much fun.  That’s the role more of us are playing by being the caregivers of both our parents and our children.

In the grand scheme, this is not really anything new.  Families used to always take care of the generations, often in a single home.  Grandma and Grandpa shared the same home with their children and grandchildren providing wisdom and assistance as the new generation came along, and receiving the attention and care of those in the family as they slowed down in their elder years.

But things changed, especially here in the United States, and families tended to live in their own separate homes with Grandma and Grandpa often living across town or even across the country.  Most of us today can’t imagine even sharing a room with a sister or brother, let alone imagine sharing a home with Grandma or Grandpa.

None of us would consider leaving a two-year old home alone.  After all, the two-year old can’t really get food to eat or make sure they make it to the bathroom on time.  And there are things in the home that could injure the child if they are not used correctly.  The two-year old is also just learning about freedom and self-reliance and if the two-year old refuses to do what we tell them to do for their own good, we can pick them up and put them in their bedroom for a ‘time out’.  The parents get to set the ground rules because a two-year old doesn’t know that it is even possible to stay up past 8:00.

It’s a different story with our aging parents.  They DO know that they can stay up past 8:00, and they’ve done it for years!  Why, they even taught US!  And most of the time, they are too large to pick up and physically move to the bedroom for a ‘time out’ when they get cantankerous.  Unfortunately, our aging parents might also be in the position of not being able to get food for themselves or eating correctly, or making it to the bathroom on time, or using things in the home that can cause injury if not used correctly.

Our parents are living longer and having more health issues, both physical and mental, then previous generations.  I know there was nobody in my family that ever got cancer until my uncle was diagnosed a few years ago.  But nobody in the family had ever lived to be 85 before either.   On my dad’s side of the family, there wasn’t a history of dementia until the family members starting living into their 90′s.

Luckily, there are more and more services available to help us take care of our parents.  These services can take away some of the stress involved in day-to-day chores such as making sure that our parents are eating correctly and being kept clean and safe.  There was a time when babysitters and day-care centers for children were a new concept, even though today we see them as an established institution in our lifestyle.  It appears that there will come a day when adult care givers and adult day-care centers will also become established in our lifestyle.

These services cost money.  But unlike children who have no resources of their own, often our parents will have some resources available to them to help pay for the services needed for their care.

Also, as parents of minor children you have the legal authority to make decisions for your children.  This is not so for your parents.  It is important to have the correct documents in place so that you have the authority to make important and day-to-day decisions for your aging parents.  These include Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives.  You might also want to consider establishing a Trust so that your parent’s assets can be transferred with a minimum of hassle and used for their benefit.

What should you do?  Read…there are a lot of resources available on the web.  Talk to your parents…find out what they want while they are able to tell you.  Talk to people you trust…your doctor, your pastor, your lawyer.  Ask them to recommend services or service providers that they trust.  Unfortunately there are some scams out there that sound good but don’t really offer the right services for your needs.  And most of all, have patience. Remember that these are the people that spent their time raising you, dealing with you when you made mistakes and who helped mold you into who you are today.  Be patient with them, knowing that they are also having difficulty dealing with this role reversal.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Can a notary make a document ‘legal’?

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I often get calls from people who tell me that they wrote up an agreement and had it notarized so it would be legal.  They are usually really surprised when I tell them that the notarization doesn’t make the agreement more legal than it was without the notary stamp and signature.

Yes, a notary can administer an oath and when you swear that oath to a notary, it has the same meaning as when you take an oath in court.  This means that you can be found guilty of perjury if you lie under the oath administered by a notary, just like you can be found guilty of perjury if you lie in court.

But the most common form of notary action is an acknowledgement.  This notarization says that the person who signed the document is either personally known by the notary, or they have provided valid identification that says they are the person who signed the document.

This protects people from actions like having a girlfriend sign a document saying she is the wife, but it does not make the document more legal.

In fact, any agreement between two people can be considered legally binding even if it is not written at all.  It may be harder to prove what the terms of an oral agreement might entail, but it would still be legal.

If you have a written agreement that has been signed by all parties, that agreement should be able to be upheld in a court of law, whether the signatures are notarized or not.

So why have things notarized?  To make sure that the person signing the document has valid id stating that they are in fact the person who signed the document.  Most people don’t go to the trouble of getting false identification in the name of someone specific just to sign a document so the chances are pretty good that the person is who he says he is.  The notary is required to inspect the identification to make sure it has every appearance of being valid.

Most banks in the area will notarize documents for free if you are a customer of the bank.  There are also other places that will notarize documents for free too.  In fact, our office will notarize documents (with valid identification of course) for free.

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at www.BeaversLaw.com