Can I give up my parental rights?

February 4th, 2017

I often have young men come into my office to ask if they can give up their parental rights to a child because their ex is pregnant.  Often the expectant mother has told the young man that he can give up his parental rights if he will just leave her and the child alone (and she promises not to ask for child support at any time in the future).

First of all, there really aren’t any parental rights until the child is born.

Also, you can NOT sign over your parental rights unless there is someone else ready, willing and able to take over (an example would be an adoption).

If the mother says you are the father, but you are not married, then you have the right to sign or not sign the birth certificate.  If you sign the birth certificate, you are stating that you will accept being the legal father of this child with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with being a father.  If you do not sign the birth certificate, then you are not the legal father until and unless other actions take place.

The mother can take you to court for child support, at which time you can request a DNA test to make sure you are the father.  If the court determines that you are the father via the DNA test results, they can then order you to pay child support.  If the court determines that you are not the father via DNA test results, then the court can not order you to pay child support based on the DNA results.

You can also go to court and accept responsibility for the child by stating under oath that you are the father without going the DNA route, but take note that you cannot take a DNA test later and overrule this statement so you had better be sure this is what you want to do.

If you have questions about this, or any legal topic, please contact the office of Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.  You can also visit us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com.

A New Year, A New Company!

January 1st, 2017

We work with a lot of individuals and small business owners and we often tell them that you should periodically re-evaluate your situation.

At Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law, we did just that.  We re-evaluated our situation and determined that we really needed to become a Professional Corporation.

Why?  We have worked wonderfully as a sole proprietorship for over 8 years and when we considered a change in the past, it just didn’t seem to be necessary.  However, things change.  We get older and the ease of being a sole proprietorship also means that if anything happened to Kristina Beavers, the firm itself would need to be dissolved.  This would not be a good thing for our attorneys or our clients.

So, we have decided to incorporate and we are now officially ‘Beavers Law, P.C.’   This means that if anything happens to Kristina Beavers, the firm will continue and the attorneys and clients will be able to go on as before.

This means more details for us to watch out for, more mandatory meetings and annual reports to be completed.  But we think this is worth it to ensure the continuity of our service to our clients.

Please join us in welcoming in a New Year and a New Company!

We are also adding more attorneys and new office locations in Hampton and Williamsburg for your convenience.

If you have any questions, or wish to speak to one of our attorneys, please contact the office at 757-234-4650.

Plan for the unexpected

December 26th, 2016

We learned today that another celebrity died.  This one was very unexpected and it took everyone by surprise.  That can happen to us too!

So what can we do to plan for the unexpected?

We can make an appointment with our Estate Planning Attorney to find out what sort of plan we need.  Do we need a Will?  Should we have a Trust?  If we have a trust, are we sure that it is funded correctly?  Do we need to re-title our real estate and other assets so that the probate process can be minimized?  Do we want to make contributions to our favorite charity?  Do we have children or pets that we want to ensure are taken care of properly? (and no, the answers are not always the same for everyone)

These are all questions that should be asked and answered by a qualified Estate Planning attorney.

Remember that the Estate Plan is not for you, once you have passed away you are no longer worried about the details.  The Estate Plan is to help your family and loved ones carry on after you are gone.  This is the Plan of how you want your assets to be distributed after you are no longer able to handle these arrangements yourself.

If you have any questions or want more information about Estate Planning, please contact Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Will I have to pay child support?

February 21st, 2016

If you are the legal parent of a child, then the Commonwealth of Virginia says that you have an obligation to provide support for that child.  There are actual numbers in the Code of Virginia that show the total gross family income and the amount of support that the legislature has determined is necessary for the support of up to 6 children.

Once you have that base number, that number can be increased by any work-related child care and any health insurance for the child.  This will give you the total amount of support that should be provided for that child.

In the case where one parent has the child the majority of the time and the other parent has the child for less than 90 24-hour periods, the total child support obligation is multiplied by his or her percentage of the total family income and the non-custodial parent will pay his or her percentage to the custodial parent.  For example, if the custodial parent earns 40% of the income and the non-custodial parent earns 60% of the income, then the non-custodial parent will pay 60% of the total child support obligation to the custodial parent.

In the case where the non-custodial parent has the child for more than 90 24-hour periods, there is another calculation where the amount of time the child spends with each parent is taken into account.   The first step in this process multiplies the total child support obligation by 1.4.  This higher number is then multiplied by the time each parent has the child and then multiplied by the percentage of income for each parent.  This determines the total amount of child support for each parent and the difference between the two is the amount of child support that is paid by one parent to the other.

The calculation formulas are in the code, but most people use a calculation spreadsheet formula provided by a software vendor.  Most attorneys, the courts, and the Department of Social Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) all use these same software vendors.  There is also an online provider at www.SupportSolver.com that can be used for your own calculations, although the Courts or DCSE will use their own software for the actual numbers to be in the order.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Can a policeman lie?

February 13th, 2016

The short answer is ‘yes’, a policeman (or policeperson) can — and often does– lie to you during their investigation.  Of course, if they are under oath and on the stand in a courtroom, they are required to tell the truth.  But I am talking about during the investigation phase.  That time when they are asking you questions usually at the police station.

Sometimes, the policeman will tell you that someone in another room has already told them everything and they are giving you an opportunity to tell your side of it so that they can talk to the prosecutor and help you get a better deal.  Sometimes they will tell you that they have evidence that they really don’t have.  I’ve listened to tapes where the same policeman went to four different rooms and told each one of the potential defendants that he already knew everything — when in reality he had not gotten information from anyone.

Remember that during the investigation, it is the policeman’s job to get the information needed to help get a conviction.  If they are talking to you in an interview room, they are not trying to be your friend!

So what should you do?  The police officer will probably read you what are called ‘Miranda’ rights.  These include the ‘right to remain silent, and anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law’  and the ‘right to an attorney and have that attorney present during questioning, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you’.  Once you have been read these rights you need to tell the officer ‘I want to talk to my attorney before I speak with you’, and then be quiet.

Don’t say, ‘do you think I need an attorney’? or ‘maybe I should talk to an attorney’.  Very clearly say, ‘I want to talk to my attorney before I speak with you’. and then be quiet and say nothing else.

The policeman will probably tell you that they can’t help you if  you refuse to talk to them, but stick to your statement and wait to speak to your attorney before you talk to them.  This might mean you will spend the night in jail until you can have an attorney appointed for you, but that is much better than having you say something that can be used against you later.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.