Thursday, July 24, 2014

What can employers NOT fire you for?

In Virginia, employment is "at-will".  But what exactly does that mean?  It means employers can terminate you for just about any reason or no reason at all.  There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule.  So what exactly are the reasons that employers cannot use to fire you?  Here's a list of a few of those reasons:

1) Age - you cannot be fired because you are a certain age (typically, these cases involve older employees rather than younger employees)
2) Gender - you cannot be fired because you are a woman or because you are a man (this typically extends to things that occur because of your gender such as pregnancy)
3) Race/National Origin - you cannot be fired because you are of a certain race or national origin
4) Disability - you cannot be fired because you have a disability
5) Religion - you cannot be fired because of your religion or your religion practices

On top of these reasons, you cannot be fired in retaliation for opposing firings or discrimination based on the above listed categories.  For example, if you participate in a co-worker's discrimination case in support of the co-worker, your company cannot fire you for doing so.

These cases are very fact intensive and there may be other limitations on your company terminating you that are not listed above.  If you believe you have been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated, it is best to contact an attorney to discuss your situation.  If you would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why You Should Consult With Multiple Attorneys

Let's say you have a legal problem that needs a solution and you've decided you are going to hire an attorney to help you find that solution.  You walk into a lawyer's office, he/she gives you some brief advice and then asks if you want to retain him/her.  What should you do?

In my opinion, you should meet with multiple attorneys before deciding which one you would like to hire. Every attorney is different.  We all have our own styles and preferences.  We all work differently.  Some attorneys prefer to have communications go through their secretary, some prefer to make phone calls themselves.  Which one of those would you be most comfortable with?  Some attorneys believe amicable resolution (i.e. settlement) may be in your best interest, while some attorneys think you should fight til the end.  Would you prefer to try to settle or do you want to fight no matter what (regardless of the attorney's opinion, this decision is actually YOUR decision to make).  No legal problem has a simple solution and each attorney is going to strategize on how to solve yours.  Do you want to be involved in developing that strategy or do you simply want your attorney to tell you how to move forward?  These things might seem simple and minute but they can affect your overall experience with the legal system in a huge way. 

Picture how different the experience would be if you simply receive a paper from the court in the mail versus having your attorney call you and explain to you what that paper means and how it affects your life.  You should make sure you are comfortable with the attorney and how they practice law BEFORE you retain them.  While you always have the right to fire your attorney and retain a new one, this may end up costing you more money in the long run.  So take up attorneys' offers on free consultations and meet with a few before you decide which one is best for you. 

If you are looking to speak with an attorney and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or

Monday, July 21, 2014

Custody: Getting Creative

Custody cases can be very difficult for people to handle.  They are emotional, high stakes cases and typically, the parties just want what's best for their children.  The problem is, with the emotions running high between the parties, it can become difficult to articulate what those best interests are. 

Personally, I like to get creative when it comes to custody cases.  Most people know the standard custody arrangement: one person gets primary custody of the child, the other person gets weekend visitation every other weekend and possibly a weeknight dinner.  Just because that is a common arrangement doesn't mean it's what's best for you, your child and your co-parent

Maybe your and your co-parent are capable of being in the same room together.  Maybe we can find a schedule that allows your child to spend ample amount of time with both of his/her parents.  Maybe every other weekend isn't feasible as visitation for you or your co-parent, how can we fix that?  Let's not use the default custody and visitation schedule and let's work together to find a real resolution that can last.  

Having an attorney on your side in a custody case can help you explore creative solutions.  Because we are not as emotionally involved, we can help you think outside the box to figure out the best resolution for your case. 

If you are involved in a divorce or custody dispute and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or

Monday, July 14, 2014

Can you answer these questions?

Can you answer these questions?  If not, it may be time to talk to an attorney.

If I died yesterday, who would get my property? Who would take care of my children?
If I became incapacitated (can no longer make my own decisions), who would pay my bills?  Who would take care of my physically?
Does my family know if I want extreme life saving measures taken if I am in a hospital?
How much of my ex-spouse's retirement do I get?
Where will my children spend their summer break this year, with me or my ex-spouse?
Who pays for my children's healthcare, me or my ex-spouse?  Who gets the tax credit for my child?

If you can't answer some of these questions, it may be time to meet with an attorney.  The right attorney can help you figure out what you want the answers to these questions to be and how to accomplish those goals.  Whether it is through a custody agreement, a will, a power of attorney or other process, an attorney can make sure you are competent on your wishes and that your family knows those wishes. 

These questions are important and you should know the answers to each and every one of them.  If you would like to speak with us regarding any of the above questions or any questions you have in general, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Other Resources You Should Consider Using During a Divorce

Typically, when people hear the word "divorce" they think of the complicated legal process of ending a marriage.  There is, however, much more to a divorce than the legal process and you should look at the process as a whole.  To do that, you may need to consider using some resources other than just an attorney.  Here's an idea of some of those resources:

Therapists.  It may be a good idea for you and your family to attend therapy sessions.  This is especially true for children who are probably struggling with the concept of your divorce.  You could consider individual therapy sessions or family therapy sessions depending on your situation.  Going to a therapist could help you through the whole process.  For example, being able to express your feelings and work through them with a professional may help you think clearer when it comes to the legal process and determining custody or dividing property. 

Financial Planners.  Whether you were in charge of the bills in your marriage or not, a financial planner is someone you should consider meeting with during a divorce.  Everything in your life is changing, and that likely includes your financial circumstances.  Financial planners can help you plan not only for your new financial situation but for your future. 

Community services.  Many counties/cities have a community services board that can provide you with resources.  The biggest one that comes to mind is a co-parenting class.  A co-parenting class is a great way to work through your new relationship with your ex-spouse and your children.  For more information on co-parenting, read here. 

Real Estate Agents, Title Companies, Mortgage Lenders.  Likely, through your divorce you are either moving to a new home or refinancing your current home.  You should consider meeting with multiple professionals in that field to determine the best course of action for you.

Ideally, your attorney will be able to help you find these resources and will collaborate with these professionals, with your permission, to come up with the best plan possible for your future as you go through your divorce and reassemble your life after your divorce.

If you are going through a divorce and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or

Monday, July 7, 2014

Custody and "Co-parenting"

Now is as good a time as any to work on your co-parenting skills with the other parent of your children.  So what is co-parenting and how can you work on it?

Co-parenting is successfully working with the other parent of your children to raise them in a healthy environment.  It is raising your children as a team even though you are no longer romantically involved.  It is putting your children's needs first even when there are a lot of emotions swimming around in your head. 

So how can you work on co-parenting?  First of all, try to set aside all of the emotions between you and the other parent.  While it is important that you are able to communicate and are cordial with each other, co-parenting is really about focusing on the children's relationships with each parent rather than your own.  Picture how you want the other parent to encourage a relationship between you and your children and do the same.  If you are strong at communicating, talk with the other parent about how you can both encourage healthy relationships between the children and the other parent.  

Come up with a plan.  How can you be a good co-parent?  The answer to that question is different for every client I have so you need to figure out what works for you.  Put it in writing and keep it somewhere that you can look at it for a reminder when things are tough.  Again, if you can, communicate with the other parent and come up with a plan together. 

Take a co-parenting class.  A co-parenting class is a class that teaches you the basics you need to become a successful co-parent.  Even if you've taken one before, it might be time for a refresher.  If you are not sure how to find a class near you, call your local courthouse.  Many times the courts will have a list of co-parenting classes available and can point you in the right direction. 

Co-parenting takes work and it is easy to procrastinate becoming a better one but it is important for your children. 

If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or