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Rights children have after a divorce

Children of divorce in Virginia often experience a wide range of emotions when a marriage comes to an end. Parents may be able to make the transition to a two-household life easier by being mindful of unofficial "rights" that their children have after a marriage ends.

First of all, children of divorce have a right not to be affected by lingering anger that divorced parents may have toward one another. This means parents should not to openly bad-mouth their former spouse and not discourage their child from enjoying time with the other parent, even if stepparents or new significant others are part of the picture. Also, kids tend to appreciate being reminded that the divorce was not their fault and that there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.

Trusts and estate plans

When developing their estate plans, Virginia residents can structure a trust so that it can be used to achieve their specific goals. It can be also structured to simultaneously give the trustee the tools needed to achieve those goals while dealing with ongoing economic and investment factors. In order to properly structure their trust, individuals have to decide if they will fund it straightaway, over a certain period of time or upon their death.

Many people choose to use a revocable, or living trust as a part of their estate plan. A revocable trust, which is not funded until the death of the settlor, holds all the person's instructions for how the estate is to be divided among surviving loved ones. It also specifies how each beneficiary's share in the trust is to be administered, regulated and distributed. For people who are concerned about the welfare of their minor children, a trust can be used to designate who will be able to make financial decisions on behalf of the children and use the trust funds to pay for their health care and education expenses until they reach adulthood.

Supervised visitations mandated by the court

In Virginia and across the United States, divorced parents may need to undergo parental supervision while visiting their children. A judge may order supervised parental visitations if the parent has a prior history of substance abuse or alcoholism. A court may also order parental supervision if the parent has a history of physical abuse. Although the court wants to give a child the chance to visit with their parent, a judge also wants to make sure the child is safe.

When a parent who does not have child custody requires supervision, they must report to a visitation center. If this is not possible, a judge may make arrangements for the supervised visitation to take place in the parent's house. A judge chooses the supervisor in either situation. Social workers and counselors typically supervise the visitations. Some supervised visitations are temporary. Other supervised visitations are permanent. Any indication of child abuse merits the attention of a family court.

Supreme Court declines to expand double jeopardy protections

Virginia readers might be interested to learn that, on June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid to expand double jeopardy protections for individuals charged with state and federal crimes. Experts say the case could impact President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was convicted on federal charges during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and could additionally face state charges.

The case before the court involved an Alabama man who was slapped with both state and federal charges for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The man contended that the federal charges filed against him violated his constitutional rights. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that no one should be charged for the same offense twice, a legal concept known as "double jeopardy." However, in a 7-2 decision, the justices upheld a lower federal court ruling that found separate state and federal prosecutions are allowed under the law.

About trusts

Virginia residents should consider using a trust in their estate plans for a number of reasons. A trust is a legal tool that can be used to protect assets against instances of incompetency, avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process and protect heirs. The expenses associated with establishing a trust vary and can cost as much as several thousand dollars.

One of two main types of trusts is the revocable trust, which is created during a person's lifetime. In situations in which individuals no longer want or need the trust, it can be revoked, and the assets can be transferred back into their possession. While a revocable trust can help avoid the probate process and provide protection against incapacity, it is not useful as a tool to reduce taxes. Also, revocable trusts can be set up to become irrevocable after the estate owner's death.

Neighborhood crime apps may cause racial sterotyping

Violent crime has decreased sharply over the past decades in Virginia and across the United States. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crimes fell 49 percent from 1993 to 2017. New neighborhood crime prevention apps, though, may have users feeling otherwise.

Neighborhood crime apps, such as Citizen, Amazon Ring's Neighbors and Nextdoor, are becoming increasingly popular. The apps send users local 911 alerts and coordinate coverage of local news. They also encourage people to report crimes. Users report that they get alerts from anything to someone ringing their doorbell and running away to "suspicious" minorities who are walking in the neighborhood.

How parenting plans may change over the summer

Summer vacation can bring schedule changes, and divorced parents in Virginia may need to adjust the parenting plan to accommodate those changes. This adjustment should start well before the summer begins. The aim should be to get both parents in agreement and provide a calm, safe atmosphere for the child. Parents can turn to a mediator for help if they are struggling to communicate effectively.

Parents should treat one another with respect. While they may have negative feelings about one another, dealing with summer plans is about the best interests of the child. Attacking one another can be harmful to the child. Children can also sense tension between their parents. One consideration in reviewing the parenting plan for the summer is how the child's needs have changed. A plan that was appropriate for a very young child may not be appropriate once the child is approaching the teen years.

Tips for a single parent creating an estate plan

For some single parents of minor children in Virginia, the other parent may still be a part of the child's life and may be the best choice for the child to live with if the custodial parent dies. However, single parents should still consider appointing alternate guardians in case the other parent cannot step into this position for some reason. This can be done as part of an overall estate plan.

Parents should establish a trust that can receive their assets and keep them for the children. This could include life insurance as well as any settlement that is related to the parent's death. In addition to naming a guardian, a trust can specify how a parent wants this money spent. The parent may want it used for specific purposes, and some parents may want their children to have a greater amount of control over the assets than others.

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