By Rob Hagy, Law Offices of Rob Hagy, P.C., 154 Hansen Road, Suite 202B, Charlottesville, Virginia. Call (434)293-4562 for more information or email for more information at email@example.com. I look forward to helping you!
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In the case of Patel v. Patel, the Virginia Court of Appeals, in a published opinion, upheld a trial court's decision that husband's interests in various companies should be valued at "zero" instead of giving the interests a negative value even though the companies' debts exceeded their assets at the time of trial. Just because the companies' debts exceeded their assets at a given point in time did not mean that the companies had a negative value or that the companies were incapable of generating profits or that they did not have a positive cash flow capable of paying off any debt, but, instead, it merely showed that at the time of the valuation the companies had more debt than assets.
The recession has affected the rate of divorce filings across the country, but it has created considerable opportunites for individuals in certain economic circumstances to exploit the economic downturn to their favor.
Child and Spousal Support.
If an individual is the primary breadwinner or is obligated to pay support, then a reduction in income due to the economic recession affords an excellent opportunity for the individual to either petition the court for a modification if an order has already been established. Or, if no order has been established, then that individual should proceed in setting the amount of support to take in account his current financial circumstances.
Spouse with Title to Assets.
A spouse with title to assets which may be treated as marital property now has an opportunity to cash the opposing spouse out of the assets, which will likely be valued at their lowest due to the recession.
I just finished reading the Winter Edition of the Family Law Quarterly (the "FLQ"), published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association. It contained an article critiquing "Parental Alienation Syndrome" by Dr. Janet R. Johnston, a professor of justice studies at San Jose University called "Children of Divorce Who Reject a Parent and Refuse Visitation: Recent Research and Social Policy Implications for the Alienated Child". It also provided a Review of the Year in Family Law which was dominated by the issue of same-sex marriage. Lastly, the FLQ provided a case digest of significant cases from all fifty states. Eleven Virginia cases made the case digest on a variety of topics. Here are the cases.
In Newman v. Newman, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that counsel for parties can sign an agreement for their clients and that there is nothing invalid or nonbinding about a consent order signed by counsel.
In Baldwin v. Baldwin, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a Virginia Code amendment would not apply to all agreements or orders in cases regardless of age because such an application would impair the sacred obligation of contracts.
In Kane v. Szymczak, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled a trial judge erred in making a custody and visitation decision that simply enumerated the numbered statutory factors the judge utilized in rendering the decision. That was not "communcating the basis for the decision" as required by Virginia Code Section 20-124.3.
In Roberts v. Roberts, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a trial judge did not violate a father's constitutional rights by reducing his in person visitation to a thirty minute telephone call once a week where the reduction was due to his excessively purtannical conduct.
In Sullivan v. Jones, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a reversal of a prior order allowing a relocation did not act as res judicatea and trump the change in circumstances test so a mother could still petition for visitation and ask for a relocation which was permitted.
In Wheeler v. Wheeler, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a reolcation by a mother to Florida was in the best interests of the child since such relocation would improve mother's deteriorating economic conditions, provide financial security, and would allow children to live with primary caregiver who could stay at home where Father's relationship would not suffer due to relocation.
In Hodges v. Commonwealth, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that holds that food stamps and Medicaid assistance were not “public assistance moneys” as contemplated in Code Section 63.2-1908; and that the legislature did not exempt noncustodial parents receiving those forms of public assistance from reimbursing DCSE for moneys expended on behalf of their children.
In Hatloy v. Hatloy, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a father was entitled to a reduction in child support even though father was making $55,000.00 plus 2x that in stock options where he was laid off due to economic downturn.
In Princiotto v. Gorell, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a father could pay bills directly to third party suppliers instead of paying the mother child support where strong and conclusive proof showed mother was financiall irresponsible and the child support money would not be used for the children's benefit.
In Spero v. Heath, the Virginia Supreme Court held the trial court properly refused to grant father's petition for name change after genetic testing showed that father was indeed the child's father.
In Hoebelheinrich v. Hoebelheinrich, the Virginia Supreme Court held that it was proper for the trial judge to appoint the wife's expert to give an opinion on valuation of the husband's medical practice and then to follow the appointed expert's opinion, since the husband had been invited to suggest experts and failed to do so.
In the unpublished opinion of Washington v. Washington, the Virginia Court of Appeals held no error in trial court's rulings on the issues of equitable distribution, custody and visitation, and attorney’s fees.
In the unpublished case of Lannes v. Lannes, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did not err in its equitable distribution award, awards of spousal and child support, decision to award spousal support for thirteen years and in allowing each party to retain possession of the personal property obtained at the time of separation.
Virginia Code Section 20-108.2 This provision of Virginia law sets forth the child support guidelines-a table of reference for determining the base monthly child support obligation.
Virginia Code Section 20-124.3 This statute sets forth the factors that a court will consider in divorce proceedings, temporary proceedings, or modification proceedings to determine what custody and visitation arrangement would be best for the child or children involved.