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Blog: Opinions & Observations

Falling in Love Across Borders - March 2015

March 23, 2015

by Anne C. Lahren They say you can’t help who you fall in love with, and love is complicated even under the best of circumstances. Things become even more complex when love crosses international borders. The United States immigration and nationality laws govern the legal processes for foreign nationals who desire to live and work in the United States, including specific rules and requirements for fiancé(e)s and spouses of U.S. citizens. Whether you are a U.S. citizen who met...

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Relocation Litigation and the Application of the "Best Interests of the Child" Standard - February 2015

February 09, 2015

by Alysha Allen Some of the most contentious child custody litigation involves the fight over whether a parent may relocate with a child. The Code of Virginia does not specifically address relocation of a custodial parent. As with any Virginia custody litigation, the paramount concern in relocation cases is the best interests of the child. Before a court permits a custodial parent to relocate with a child, it must determine that the relocation is in the child’s best...

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Walking Through a Subcontract Minefield Without Stepping on a Mine - January 2015

January 20, 2015

by Jack Rephan The typical standard form of subcontract agreement in use by general contractors throughout the country may contain a minefield of provisions which can prevent or make it difficult for subcontractors to get paid for their work or for changes in their work or for delays. Because, in most cases, general contractors are reluctant to eliminate or modify some of these provisions, it is important that subcontractors not only carefully read their subcontracts before...

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Welcome Aboard! Residential Leasing to Military Families - November 2014

November 07, 2014

by Kathryn N. Byler There are 27 military bases in Virginia with every branch of the service having at least one base. Quantico, Fort Eustis, and Naval Air Station Oceana are some of the installations that bring people and dollars to Virginia. Military personnel coming to the Commonwealth for a limited duration provide a steady market for rental properties. Both landlords and military tenants should be aware of special legislation and procedures designed to protect...

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Advance Directives - October 2014

October 17, 2014

by Jessica M. Booth In Virginia, any adult who is capable of making an informed decision may, at any time, make a written advance directive to address health care in the event he or she is later determined to be incapable of making an informed decision. Written advance directives must be signed by the maker (the “declarant”) in the presence of two subscribing witnesses. Oral advance directives, in the presence of two witnesses, are permitted only if the declarant has been...

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Who is a Large Employer Under Obamacare? - September 2014

September 05, 2014

by Brent R. Haden The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Act” (frequently referred to in common parlance as “Obamacare”)) requires, among other things that all “large employers” provide qualified health coverage for all of their full-time employees or pay an annual penalty (known as the Employer Shared Responsibility).  A large employer is generally any employer with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents.  Full-time employees are those...

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Civic League or Homeowners' Association - July 2014

July 29, 2014

by Jeffrey A. Hunn Homeowners’ Association and a Civic Association … if there is one?” The homebuyer client often goes on to explain to me he/she will have to pay mandatory dues. He/she can’t find any information on the neighborhood website or in the By-Laws. I am forced to explain there are some very important differences between a Homeowners’ Association and a Civic Association. What is a Civic Association?A Civic Association (“CA”) is a non-profit organization whose...

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Revocation of Death Benefits by Divorce or Annulment and Federal Preemption - May 2014

May 22, 2014

by Jessica M. Booth Under Virginia law (Va. Code § 20-111.1), upon the entry of a decree of annulment or divorce from the bond of matrimony on and after July 1, 1993, any revocable beneficiary designation contained in a then existing written contract owned by one party that provides for the payment of any death benefit to the other party generally is revoked. This general rule does not apply to the extent the decree of annulment or divorce or a written agreement between the...

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"Separated" is Not "Divorced" - April 2014

April 22, 2014

by Anne C. Lahren So your marriage is ending and you're eager to put the past behind you. Time for a rebound relationship!... or is it? For many reasons it is far better to abstain until after the divorce is final. It does not matter whether it was you or your spouse who initiated the separation or divorce action. In either scenario, things are more likely to remain civil and progress smoothly if you avoid bringing new romantic interests into the picture. You and your...

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A Gift from Congress for Small Businesses - March 2014

March 25, 2014

by Jack Rephan Included within the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, which was passed by Congress on December 26, 2013 and signed by President Obama, is an amendment to the Small Business Act, which should be good news for contractors doing business with the federal government. Prior to this amendment, in a case of contracts for construction of any public facility exceeding $1,000,000, or $500,000 in a case of all other contracts, before any contract award,...

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