Virginia Custody: A Poster Case for the Father’s Rights Movement

The father’s rights movement, at its most simplified, believes that the judicial deck is stacked in favor of mothers, whether it be in favoring them in initial custody decisions that leave the father very little time with the children or in applying an onerous child support formula that leaves the father with little funds to make his own ends meet.  The movement strongly relies upon anecdotal evidence of otherwise good fathers being treated like mere babysitters in the law’s eyes or being left almost destitute as every penny goes to the mother of a child who uses that money to fund her lifestyle rather than pay for the child’s actual needs. This blogger does not subscribe to this movement, but a recent case would surely give anyone sympathetic to the movement pause . . . Continue reading

Virginia Divorce: The Marriage That Wasn’t

In MacDougall v. Levick (Case No. CL-2011-4071), the parties thought that they were married.  They had their wedding officiated by a rabbi on December 21, 2002.  They applied for their marriage license on January 6, 2003.  They sent it to their rabbi who received it on January 21, 2003.  Their rabbi signed the license with a stated marriage date of January 21, 2003.  The license itself was filed with the Clerk of the Fairfax County Circuit Court on February 11, 2003.  The parties then lived together as husband and wife for the next 8 years before commencing tumultuous divorce litigation in 2011.  What could have gone wrong? Continue reading

Virginia Custody: The Perils of Relocation Illustrated

Say you are the primary physical custodian of your boys, who have lived their entire lives in their hometown and are now 11 and 14 years old.  Your kids are doing great.  Your kids have a great relationship with you.  Your kids have a great relationship with their father, whom you divorced about 5 years ago.  Your kids have a nice relationship with your current husband, whom you married soon after your divorce 5 years ago.  You have an okay relationship with your ex-husband, although you still have negative feelings towards him stemming from your past relationship.  Then, unexpectedly, your current husband’s employer removes his local position, forcing him to take a similar position out of state in Ohio.  Can you just move with the kids to Ohio?  What do you risk?  Well, unfortunately for you, you risk losing custody of your children. Continue reading