Can you Film the Police?

In recent years Courts have issued conflicting opinions about a citizen’s right to film the police. For example, one Federal Court held in 2011 that, although not unqualified, “a citizen’s right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First …

The Question Must be Why NOT Try Mediation?

In any legal dispute, to include divorces, Mediation is an option you can use to minimize your costs in terms of legal fees, to maintain more control over what happens to you, and to more likely get to a more satisfactory result. In a divorce, for example, a lot is at stake: all your property and your children–and your life …

Mediation Newport News, Mediation Yorktown

What is a Thrift Savings Plan, and Who Owns It Now?

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement plan for Federal employees and uniformed service members similar to a civilian “401(k)” plan. Why does it matter if I have a TSP account? During your divorce, your TSP matters because the Court may divide it during an equitable distribution hearing.  An equitable distribution hearing is when the Court determines how the …

What is a Survivor Benefit Plan, and How is it “Divided?”

The Spousal Benefit Plan (SBP) is an annuity plan to provide an income source to a surviving spouse upon the death of a service member.  The SBP is not a free program, in fact, you must pay a monthly premium based on the “base amount” or benefit level elected. When can I get the Survivor Benefit Plan? SBP is a …

What is Spousal Support, and What’s the Law?

Spousal support, often known more commonly as alimony, is used not to punish one spouse, but to support a financially dependent spouse in the event of a pending divorce and/or after a divorce.  Spousal support can be established either by an agreement between the divorcing parties or upon award by the Court.  In Virginia, there is no “right” to spousal …

What is a Sentencing Hearing?

A sentencing hearing is a separate proceeding from the traditionally known courtroom trial (where an individual is deemed guilty and convicted of a crime) and may be better understood as the punishment portion of the trial process. What happens at a sentencing hearing? In Virginia, sentencing hearings tend to follow the same specific process.  First, the Commonwealth is permitted to …

Juvenile Traffic Violations: Who is considered a “minor”?

In Virginia, minors are persons under the age of 18 years old. Is a minor treated differently than an adult if he/she gets a traffic ticket? Yes.  Since minors in Virginia initially possess provisional driver’s licenses, there are additional punishments that may be imposed by the court if the minor is found guilty of a traffic violation.  There are also …

Imprisonment and Your Social Security Benefits

What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits? Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSD or SSDI) and Social Security retirement benefits are only available for individuals that have paid into the Social Security system.  These benefits are funded through past contributions taken out of your wages by your employer over the lifetime of your …

Imprisonment & Military Benefits

Do I get to keep my military benefits if my spouse or I are incarcerated? The continuation of your benefits will be determined by the type of military benefits you receive and the reason for your incarceration. Do my military disability payments continue? Most disability payments will continue during your incarceration at a reduced rate if you have been sentenced …

What is Child Support & How Do I Get It?

Child support is the monetary obligation that a noncustodial parent/responsible party (parent who does not have physical custody of their child) pays to the parent who does (custodial parent).  In Virginia, both parents are financially responsible for the child, but the law presumes that the parent with whom the child is living provides for many of the child’s financial needs, …