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Blog: Opinions & Observations

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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Considering the Implications & Benefits of Trademarks and Trademark Registration When Forming Your Business - January 2014

January 03, 2014

by Kristen R. Jurjevich. In forming a new business (whether an LLC, Corporation, etc.), often the focus lies on whether the name of the business passes muster with the State Corporation Commission (“SCC”). However, registering a business with the SCC merely gives one the right to do business in that particular state under that particular name. If you are interested in using a logo for your business or branding the goods or services that your business provides, you may want...

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Partition Suits - July 2013

July 19, 2013

by D. Rossen S. Greene. A person may end up sharing ownership of a piece of real property with others whom that person would rather not share anything. This situation can arise in any number of ways, but the most common is inheritance. For example, a person may inherit a partial interest in a piece of real property and not be able to get along with the other co-owners. When thorny issues arising from the co-ownership of real property cannot be negotiated among the parties...

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Riparian Rights When You Own Land in Contact with the Water: A Mix of Environmental, Admiralty and State Law - June 2013

June 19, 2013

By James T. Lang. Why do people pay extra for property “on the water”?  Besides the ambience and the view, owning land in contact with the water of a river, bay, creek or ocean includes valuable riparian property rights.  The Virginia Supreme Court in 2012 wrote: The littoral or riparian nature of property is often a substantial, if not the greatest, element of its value. This is true whether the owner uses his access to the sea for navigation, fishing, bathing, or the...

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Provisional Waivers for Unlawful Presence - April 2013

April 22, 2013

By Anne C. Lahren. Prior to March 4, 2013, there was no relief from within the United States for a alien immediate relative (such as a spouse, parent, or minor child) of a U.S. citizen who had previously entered without inspection (EWI), regardless of the hardship that such alien’s departure from the U.S. might cause the U.S. citizen immediate relative and family. Aliens who are EWI are ineligible to adjust status and must depart the U.S. and apply for an immigrant visa with...

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Recent Court of Appeals Case Highlights Importance of Protecting Accounts Early in a Separation - April 2013

April 08, 2013

Written by Richard E. Garriott, Jr. Wright v. Wright. The Wright case involved a divorce between a couple who had been married thirty (30) years.  Mr. Wright is a well known attorney in the Richmond area with a successful practice. Mrs. Wright, while highly educated, had been a homemaker for over twenty (20) years.  During the course of the divorce case, Mrs. Wright sought ongoing spousal support and also sought to have Mr. Wright refund monies he had taken from joint...

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The Legal Side of Aging and Dementia: Advance Planning Tools, Commitment Proceedings, Guardianships & Conservatorships - March 2013

March 06, 2013

By Kathryn N. Byler. During the 2013 session, the VA General Assembly unanimously passed a law against the financial exploitation of incapacitated persons making it a felony punishable with incarceration of between one and twenty years. This law touches on the growing concern of protecting the elderly without taking away their rights unnecessarily. Elderly persons who once were savvy community leaders may experience effects of dementia that leave them vulnerable to...

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