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Fairfax Virginia Family Law Blog

The 'hidden' obligation in I-864 affidavits

You have probably heard this story before. A man courts (or is courted by) a beautiful young foreign national, they develop a relationship online that fosters into something romantic. A marriage proposal follows, and the immigrant spouse moves to the United States through a marriage visa.

After a couple of years, the immigrant spouse obtains permanent resident status (i.e. a green card), falls out of love, files for divorce and leaves. The man is crestfallen, not only because of the broken relationship, but also because of the promise made by signing form I-864, also known as an Affidavit of Support.

Three instances where you should not initiate a divorce

While our prior posts focused on managing the emotional and logistical pitfalls that may come about during divorce, we find it prudent to dedicate a few of our upcoming posts to planning for divorce. After all, the old adage “if you prepare for the worst, you can expect the best” isn’t far from the truth. Planning not only helps you put things in perspective, it can also identify and help you avoid tough legal and financial issues.

As such, knowing when to initiate the process is an important step. There are several points during the year where you should avoid serving your soon-to-be ex. This post will identify a few.

Why you should be prepared to take your divorce to court

Divorce is never easy. From dividing assets to determining child custody, the prospect of separating the most important parts of your life is daunting and often contentious.

Not every divorce is a battle, but your goal is to come out on the other side with a lifestyle that fits your new needs. That means ensuring your financial freedom and, if you have children, making sure you maintain a healthy relationship with your kids.

What happens in an initial consultation?

It’s hard to know what your first meeting with an attorney will be like. After all, many people don’t consult one until after something tragic happens (i.e. being in an accident, or losing a loved one).  While you may feel like you are alone in feeling nervous and unsure, take solace in knowing that this is normal. Nevertheless, initial consults with a family law attorney should accomplish three important goals, and this post will identify them. 

What rights do grandparents have in a divorce?

Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond. It's also one that may be overlooked in a divorce. If there is a custody dispute, the role of the grandparents may not be the focus, but it is an important consideration.

The primary goal in child custody is to determine what is in the best interest of the kids. Family conflicts are emotional and difficult, and ignoring a child's relationship with his or her grandparents could be devastating.

A clever way to enforce financial agreements in divorce

Going through a divorce is tough enough for many parties wanting to move on from their spouses. Enforcing a new divorce decree can be an entirely different battle, especially when it comes obtaining compliance with financial orders (e.g.  spousal support, child support). For example, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, a majority of those awarded child support do not receive the full amount awarded.  

In light of this ominous information, there is still a way to deal with non-compliance when it comes to spousal support. In fact, a growing number of attorneys are finding that using Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) are reliable mechanisms that can ensure that a spouse receives money that they are promised through a court order. 

Why you should take a co-parenting class during a divorce

Parents seeking divorces may feel insulted by the notion of attending a co-parenting class. They may feel that there is nothing wrong with their parenting skills and the classes will hardly be effective in helping them deal with a difficult ex. While there may be some truth behind those feelings, the basic premise behind parenting classes is to help couples cope with the difficulties of co-parenting.

After all, a child's relationship with their parents will continue long after a divorce is finalized. Because of this, the Commonwealth of Virginia has found that a child's best interests are best served when parents are actively involved in the child's life. For this to happen, parents will have to productively address issues involving their children; chief among them, how to communicate with the other parent.

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