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Blog: Opinions & Observations

Property Settlement Agreements: Balancing the Special Fiduciary Relationship Between Spouses and “Fairness” - December 2015

December 01, 2015

by Naveed Kalantar When dealing with a property settlement agreement between spouses going through a separation or divorce, it is easy to assume, like many contracts, that when the agreement is signed, it’s a “done deal.” However, Virginia courts have addressed numerous instances in which one party has claimed their spouse committed fraud to induce them into signing an agreement or that the agreement was “unconscionable.” This is only one of many reasons we advise our...

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Divorce: Are Assets with No Value Subject to Equitable Distribution? - November 2015

November 11, 2015

by Patrick L. Maurer In Virginia, courts divide marital assets between parties (Code Ann. § 20–107.3, Michie, 2012) after analyzing evidence to determine whether the property is separate, marital or a hybrid of the two. In most cases, this is easily determinable. The court then ascertains the value of the assets, which in many cases can be stipulated by the parties. If not, they are offered into evidence, often resulting in disagreements between the representatives of each...

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Environmental Law and the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act: Where Local Knowledge is a “Must” - October 2015

October 07, 2015

by James T. Lang Living on the water provides beautiful vistas, opportunities for boating and fishing and other amenities, all of which come with a (sometimes hidden) cost because the waterfront is subject to a complicated web of environmental laws and regulations. Among these, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (found at Virginia code §§ 62.1-44.15:67 to 62.1-44.15:79) is unique in that it is a creature of local government, with minimal state oversight, and no federal role...

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How Citizens' Environmental Lawsuits Can Stop Pollution - September 2015

September 24, 2015

by James T. Lang The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) have primary responsibility for enforcing the environmental laws and regulations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are times, however, when the EPA or the DEQ are unwilling or unable to take action against a polluter who is contaminating water, air or land in violation of environmental law. Sometimes the government fails to act because the...

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Eminent Domain: From Biblical Times to the Present - September 2015

September 22, 2015

by D. Rossen S. Greene I: A Brief History of Eminent Domain: A French jurist of the early 19th century, Merlin de Douai, claimed that the earliest known reference to the use of eminent domain is in the Old Testament in the Book of Kings, which describes the acquisition of Naboth’s vineyard by King Ahab: “And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better...

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As Coastal Migration Continues, Waterfront Property Owners Encounter Complicated and Costly Environmental Regulations - September 2015

September 15, 2015

by James T. Lang Waterfront property owners in Hampton Roads are privileged to enjoy the ambiance and a fantastic view, in addition to a highly valuable set of riparian property rights.[1] These benefits however come at a cost. Waterfront owners must be prepared to carry the expense of operating their properties in compliance with a multi-faceted and complicated web of federal, state and local legal environmental requirements designed for and specifically applicable to...

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The Department of Labor’s Proposed Overtime Changes - August 2015

August 04, 2015

by Jeffrey D. Wilson Many employers rightfully view the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) as a minefield, and it is one that may soon be even more dangerous. The FLSA requires employers to pay their employees one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 a week. However, Sections 13(a)(1) and (17) provide exceptions for bona fide executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees....

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Child Support, Spousal Support... Parent Support? - June 2015

June 03, 2015

by Patrick L. Maurer We have all heard of child support and spousal support. They are regular concepts in any family attorney’s day. But, few of us who regularly engage in family law cases have ever had to deal with parent support. Va. Code Ann. §20-88 (Michie, 2009) in part provides the following: It shall be the joint and several duty of all persons eighteen years of age or over, of sufficient earning capacity or income, after reasonably providing for his or her own...

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What do Construction Lawyers Do? - May 2015

May 07, 2015

by Jack Rephan [1] In the legal profession, there are lawyers whose practice includes, to a varying degree, the representation of owners, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and designers or other parties involved in the construction industry, in matters involving commercial construction project, both private and public, as well as residential construction projects. Attorneys who devote a major portion of their practice to construction and public contract law...

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Employment Authorization for H-4 Dependent Spouses of Certain H-1B Nonimmigrants Under the New DHS Rule - April 2015

April 15, 2015

by Anne C. Lahren On February 25, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") issued a final rule amending DHS regulations to extend eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. This final rule, effective May 26, 2015, supports DHS goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers by helping to alleviate some of the hardship caused by...

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