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Domestic Relations

May 23, 2023

Property settlement amendment correctly enforced

Where the marital home became wife’s sole and separate property after the parties amended their property settlement agreement (PSA), the trial court had the authority to enforce the amendment and correctly did so with a declaratory judgment. PSA amendment “At the time of the divorce, the PSA stated: ‘[U]nless the parties agree otherwise in writing, […]

May 23, 2023

Court properly found wife deserted marriage

Even though the record supports grounds for divorce based on the parties living apart for a year or more, the record also supports the trial court’s finding that wife deserted the marriage. The trial court was free to choose either ground. Further, the trial court properly “granted wife a reservation of spousal support in the […]

May 11, 2023

Court’s spousal support award to wife affirmed

Where the trial court awarded wife spousal support and ordered husband to maintain her as a beneficiary of two life insurance policies, there was no error. Support “Husband challenges the circuit court’s spousal support award of $3,505 per month to wife. … “The circuit court found that wife had ‘no income.’ The circuit court further […]

Apr 20, 2023

Support award to wife upheld

Where the circuit court awarded wife $10,000 per month in spousal support, the court’s decision not to impute income to wife is supported by the record. Imputed income “At the outset, husband argues that the trial court should have imputed at least $65,000 of annual investment income to wife because his financial planning expert testified […]

Apr 10, 2023

Federal law permits contract to divide military pension

The Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that “certain indemnification provisions in a property settlement agreement that [wife] entered into with [husband] violated federal law and, therefore, were void ab initio.” Background The parties agreed on a division of husband’s military pension. The circuit court entered a Military Pension Division Order (MPDO) that gave […]

Apr 10, 2023

Costs and fees awarded for unwarranted motion

Where the trial court ruled that husband could not file a motion until he posted a $25,000 bond and personally appeared in court – a sanction imposed for disobeying previous court orders – the court properly sanctioned him $1,848 after he filed a motion “in defiance” of those conditions. Prior proceedings After husband filed for […]

Apr 10, 2023

Premarital agreement is enforceable

Where plaintiff and her now-deceased husband signed a premarital agreement in which each party disavowed any interest in the other’s assets, the agreement is enforceable despite plaintiff’s arguments that she did not voluntarily make the agreement and that it is unconscionable. Background Before Mr. Bernard Joiner (Mr. Joiner) and Oyunchimeg Munhuu, the plaintiff in this […]

Apr 10, 2023

High court reinstates order dividing military pension

The Supreme Court of Virginia has reinstated a circuit court’s decision to dismiss a motion to amend a military pension division order, or MPDO. The decision reverses a decision from the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which held that federal law preempted Virginia law on issues involving the division of military retirement benefits. “The record […]

Apr 3, 2023

Support modification correctly denied

Even though husband was in an accident that prevented him from working, his income actually increased following the accident due to his receipt of Social Security benefits. As a result, the trial court correctly determined there were no changed circumstances warranting modification of his spousal support obligation. Overview When the parties divorced, they “signed a […]

Apr 3, 2023

Divorce on cruelty grounds affirmed

Where a JDR court issued two protective orders in wife’s favor against husband, and husband pleaded guilty to assaulting wife, this was sufficient corroboration of wife’s testimony that husband assaulted her. Further, a $4,000 per month support award to wife is affirmed. Testimony corroborated “Husband argues that the circuit court erred by granting wife a […]

Mar 28, 2023

Man’s claims against ex-wife don’t belong in federal court

Where the court dismissed all federal claims brought by an estranged husband, it declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims asserted against his former wife relating to their custody agreement. And, in any event, the court lacked jurisdiction to modify an existing custody order and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precluded the attempted […]

Mar 20, 2023

Third-party mortgage payments were marital contribution

Where a church, for a period of time when the parties were separated, paid the mortgage on the marital home, the trial court properly classified the payments as a marital contribution instead of crediting them as husband’s separate contribution. Overview The parties were married in 2005 and separated in March 2017. Wife filed for a […]

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