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Other Domestic Relations Matters

While the majority of domestic relations matters fall within the core areas of divorce, equitable distribution, custody, visitation, and/or support, other matters often arise before, during, or after the resolution of those core issues. Raynor & Farmer, P.C. has experience in dealing with the issues below as well as with a number of other ancillary issues which may arise.

Name Change. Under prior law, a spouse could request and receive a name change in the same proceeding as the divorce itself. However, Virginia law now requires an independent action, involving separate pleadings and procedures, to change a name. Name changes can be sought and granted before, during, or after a divorce proceeding.

Protective Order. Protective orders are typically issued based on allegations of family abuse. Such allegations may surface before or during a divorce or custody case, or may arise independently. “Emergency” Protective Orders, which last for three days, and “Preliminary” Protective Orders, which can last for up to fifteen days, can be issued without prior notice and may temporarily prohibit contact with family members or even force the accused to temporarily leave the family home. Emergency and Preliminary Protective Orders can lead to “Full” Protective Orders, which, after the accused is given an opportunity to defend against the allegations in open court, can be entered and last for up to two years. The entry of any protective order, regardless of duration, results in the following: submission of information to the Virginia Criminal Information Network, prohibition against the possession of any firearm and the revocation of any concealed weapon permit while the order is in effect, and fines or jail time for any violations of the order. Pursuing or defending against such an order can be daunting, and the consequences of either not getting needed protection or of being subject to such an order can be severe.

Modification of Court Orders. In most areas of law, the conclusion of the trial process and the exhaustion of appeal opportunities results in a final, unmodifiable order of court. However, in matters related to custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support, orders can be modified by courts, based on changes in circumstances since the entry of the initial order. In most cases, however, only courts can modify court orders, which makes qualified legal counsel critical for purposes of either seeking or resisting modification.

Enforcement of Court Orders. Sometimes parties are unsure of exactly what the court has ordered, or simply do not appreciate the mandatory nature of court orders. Parties to family disputes sometimes need to return to court to clarify ambiguous orders, force compliance with clear orders by invoking the court’s contempt powers, or defend against an alleged violation and charge of contempt. A party found in contempt for violating a court order may be subject to fines, forced to pay legal fees of the opposing party, and may even receive a jail sentence for a violation. Having competent legal representation is important when pursuing enforcement or defending against allegations of non-compliance.

Please contact us to discuss any domestic relations issue you may have.

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