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Newport News Criminal Law Blog

How a DUI may affect your custodial rights

After an officer charged you for allegedly drinking and driving, you worry about your child custody rights. You currently hold a visitation agreement with your ex-spouse, but if a judge suspends your license, how will you drive to visit your children? Fighting your DUI charge with the help of an experienced attorney proves incredibly important for you and for your non-custodial children.


Are you a good candidate for a "No Fault" divorce in Virginia?

A marriage can end for many different reasons. Historically, people who wanted a divorce had to petition a court alleging adultery, abandonment or other criteria. In past generations, this was often far more difficult than it is today, not just with regard to the social and societal pressures and stigmas that came with divorce.

Virginia law allows for more than one way to legally end a marriage. A Separation divorce is one type of "Divorce from the Bond of Matrimony," known to many people as a "No Fault" divorce. It's a dissolution of marriage that doesn't require one party to have been wronged (in a specific, legally-defined way) by their spouse. If you are interested in a low-conflict end to your marriage, it may be helpful for you to understand the basic concepts related to this type of divorce, which can be less expensive and less stressful than some of the alternatives.

How Courts Look At Custody Determinations

Before a divorce or other legal action involving a court custody order, parents are granted equal rights to the physical custody of the child. Only a court order can change that dynamic. The law in Virginia has long held that parents be treated equally, meaning that there is no automatic preference granted to mothers or fathers. Judges are instructed to make these decisions based on the best interests of the child. For most children, that means regular contact with both parents. The courts consider many factors in making these decisions. A recent law provides one additional consideration judges must weigh.

Sole Custody Or Joint Custody

Solitary confinement: Protecting the rights of Virginia inmates

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has challenged the treatment of inmates in Virginia prisons, particularly the "Super Max" Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, where a young inmate was found dead in January. The 20-year-old man's death was reportedly a suicide, but his family has questioned the report from the state Department of Corrections.

The ACLU of Virginia called upon the governor to ban many uses of solitary confinement, which can be psychologically damaging to vulnerable inmates with mental illness. Protecting the rights of prisoners goes hand in hand with the rights of suspects at the hands of law enforcement and the rights of the accused in criminal proceedings.

Be very careful on social media during a divorce

Virginia has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. Approximately 9.9 percent of Virginia residents have gone through a divorce. If you are included in this statistic, there are numerous things you can do during the actual divorce process to make things easier on yourself.

Many experts recommend having a support network of people to talk to and staying involved in activities that make you happy. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of your social media use during a divorce. You can make your life more difficult by using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media in an indiscriminate manner. 

Can you fight for sole custody?

If you're a parent going through divorce, one thing you may be worried about is obtaining custody. In most courts, judges want to see parents share custody. This is because it's healthier for children to see both parents. However, judges will allow for sole custody or unbalanced schedules if there is a significant reason for the arrangement.

If you want to obtain full custody, you'll need to show a few things including the physical needs of your child, your ex-husband or wife's negative influence on your children and show that the request is for the sake of your children. No judge wants to hear a parent disparage the other to obtain full custody when there is no reason, but a judge will be happy to hear you out if there is a problem due to abuse, drugs, alcohol or other serious concerns.

Parenting time interference is a violation of the law

It's very important that both parents get time with their children following a divorce. In most cases, parenting time is spelled out in court documents, making it easy to see where your child should be and when. If you interfere with the visitation schedule without good reason, it could come back to haunt you.

Not all parents get along following a divorce, but to be fair to one another, you need to make sure your ex-partner gets to see his or her children in accordance to your custody orders. It's not acceptable to decide to keep your child longer than the time you're allowed unless there are extraneous circumstances. Even then, you need to get a court involved quickly.

Who is at risk for a drunk-driving crash?

Drunk driving is a serious threat to everyone on the roads in the United States. No matter how old the driver is, who is driving or where he or she is from, the reality is that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated puts lives at risk.

It's because of the risks posed by drunk driving that drunk drivers are penalized harshly in every state. Nationally, those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher are driving over the legal limit and may be charged with drunkenly driving. Even if your BAC is lower than .08, there's still a risk that you could be charged if you're driving dangerously and have alcohol in your bloodstream. For commercial drivers and those under 21, the legal BAC limit is lower. Commercial drivers must have a BAC of .04 percent or lower, while those under 21 usually need to have a BAC of .02 percent or lower to avoid penalties.

Sometimes, victims are accused of domestic violence

Verbal abuse is a kind of domestic abuse. It's one form that has the potential to lead to physical violence, but it doesn't necessarily result in physical violence every time.

Verbal abuse can be just as painful as a physical attack, and it can have lasting consequences for the victim. Notoriously, those who victimize others verbally often blame the victim, even when it's their own behaviors that lead to an arrest or argument. For example, the abuser may claim that the other party was trying to start a fight or was trying to control him or her, leading to the abuseful behavior.

How does an adoption affect you?

Adoption impacts people in many ways. The children get to live in a supportive home environment. The parents get to bring home children they've wanted to have in their lives. It's true that adoption has many benefits, but it also has some stressful factors to consider.

Every parent and child is unique. Likewise, every family is unique. No two situations are going to be the same, so it's important to think about your decision to adopt thoroughly before going through with it. When you decide to adopt, you need to consider how a child will fit into your life, affect the dynamic in your household and how you truly feel about adopting from foster care or a place where the child could have been traumatized or abused. As a parent, you need to be a stable, supportive party in an adoption. There is support for you out there, but for a child, you need to be strong.

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