I recently provided a variety of answers to various legal questions in VA and DC — although these apply in concept to every state. I provide them here in my blog to help any others with similar concerns.

QUESTION: My wife and I are separated….if she gives me money that she owes me from the sale of the home she brought into our marriage will I incur any tax liability.
ANSWER: Yes. You will incur tax liability equal to your share of the sale of the house. If you re-invest the money in another property, or you meet the tax liability exemption for income from the sale of property, then you may avoid tax implications. Your best bet is to meet with an attorney and discuss the property settlement agreement, and your obligations/assets thereunder. If you need help with this, give us a ring!

QUESTION: My husband filed bankruptcy chapter 13 on his bills I did not I’m co on the house and he will not make payments and I do not make enough money to pay the loa what should I do?
ANSWER: Chapter 13 requires a restructuring of the debt under a bankruptcy plan. Until the plan is approved, there is a “stay” in place – you don’t need to pay anything. Once the plan is approved, your husband will have to pay under the terms of the plan. However, you need to make sure that you are not ALSO named in that chapter 13 plan. Now is NOT the time to play dumb. You need to review the paperwork he is filing and UNDERSTAND what is happening. This effects your life. Additionally, in VA, tenants by the entirety (i.e. property owned jointly by you and your spouse under the “entirety doctrine”) have special rules under bankruptcy provisions. You need to meet with a lawyer to discuss this. You can probably call his bankruptcy attorney to get some of these answers, but if the lawyer does not know, call us.

QUESTION: Hi I am getting out of an abusive relationship. I have two children with him. Recently, I pressed criminal charges against him for domestic abuse and will appear in court as a witness at the end of the summer. He has never held a job regularly, I have been the main breadwinner and have been head of household claiming our two children on taxes. My parents live in VA but don’t have the resources or space in their house to house me and my two children until I can get on my feet, get a place/find a job and my daughter goes to kindergarten this upcoming fall. His parents who live all the way across the country have offered for us to come live with them and that they would help with everything until I get a job or further my education. What is the problem with starting over somewhere new? It’s not like I am trying to take them away from him, I’m moving in with his parents across the country. Is there anything preventing me from taking my children to Oregon after fulfilling my duty as a witness in the criminal trial?

ANSWER: Nothing. As long as you don’t have any order from VA, you are free to take the children and go wherever you like. Parental kidnapping is only a problem when there is a court order. However, you run the risk of him filing in VA BEFORE you have six months at your new location. Under the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act), you have to live in your new location, with the children, for six months before the Court there may entertain a motion or hearing on custody. If he files in VA before that time, you will have to return to VA to fight the case. That could be very expensive. We currently have a client who did what you are proposing – she moved to PA. However, the spouse did file, she ignored it, and the spouse got a custody order in VA (in her absence). She is now facing FBI kidnapping charges. Be very careful. If you would like to discuss UCCJEA or other provisions of child custody in VA/DC/MD – give us a ring at 703-402-2723 or admin@hanoverlawpc.com.

QUESTION: I was convicted of marijuana possession of less than an ounce in Washington D.C. about four years ago. I have yet to get the charge expunged, but I was wondering if I should still get it expunged or will it be dropped from my record since marijuana is legal in D.C. now?

ANSWER: No, it will not be dropped. Further, the laws in DC make expungement much more difficult for convictions. Generally, it is seven years, and only covers specific types of crimes. Drugs are not usually expunged. If you would like to discuss expungement further, give us a ring at 703-402-2723 or admin@hanoverlawpc.com.

QUESTION: Is it lawful for a felon in Virginia to own and/or possess a compound bow?
ANSWER: There is no provision preventing a felon from owning a bow. However, if you are convicted of any crime while in possession of the bow, it will be treated as an aggravated offense, and given your prior record, would carry severe penalties. I would avoid porting any type of weapon. However, a bow alone will not cause a problem for a felon – only a fire-arm. If you have questions about weapons or restrictions on felony convictions, give us a ring! 703-402-2723 or admin@hanoverlawpc.com.

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