ROBINSON LAW OFFICE, PLLC  

Former Navy Pilot Providing Legal Representation and Professional Advice with Honor

Divorce and Family Law in Northern Virginia

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Ronald Robinson

(BA, MBA, JD)

Attorney at Law


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Lieutenant Robinson, U.S. Navy Flight Instructor, 1992

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Some Virginia Code Sections on Modification of Orders

20-60.3. Contents of support orders.

All orders directing the payment of spousal support where there are minor children whom the parties have a mutual duty to support and all orders directing the payment of child support, including those orders confirming separation agreements, entered on or after October 1, 1985, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, shall contain the following:

1. Notice that support payments may be withheld as they become due pursuant to 20-79.1 or 20-79.2, from income as defined in 63.2-1900, without further amendments of this order or having to file an application for services with the Department of Social Services; however, absence of such notice in an order entered prior to July 1, 1988, shall not bar withholding of support payments pursuant to 20-79.1;

2. Notice that support payments may be withheld pursuant to Chapter 19 ( 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2 without further amendments to the order upon application for services with the Department of Social Services; however, absence of such notice in an order entered prior to July 1, 1988, shall not bar withholding of support payments pursuant to Chapter 19 ( 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2;

3. The name, date of birth, and last four digits of the social security number of each child to whom a duty of support is then owed by the parent;

4. If known, the name, date of birth, and last four digits of the social security number of each parent of the child and, unless otherwise ordered, each parent's residential and, if different, mailing address, residential and employer telephone number, driver's license number, and the name and address of his or her employer; however, when a protective order has been issued or the court otherwise finds reason to believe that a party is at risk of physical or emotional harm from the other party, information other than the name of the party at risk shall not be included in the order;

5. Notice that, pursuant to 20-124.2, support will continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (i) a full-time high school student, (ii) not self-supporting, and (iii) living in the home of the party seeking or receiving child support until such child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first, and that the court may also order the continuation of support for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (b) unable to live independently and support himself, and (c) residing in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support;

6. On and after July 1, 1994, notice that a petition may be filed for suspension of any license, certificate, registration or other authorization to engage in a profession, trade, business, occupation, or recreational activity issued by the Commonwealth to a parent as provided in 63.2-1937 upon a delinquency for a period of 90 days or more or in an amount of $5,000 or more. The order shall indicate whether either or both parents currently hold such an authorization and, if so, the type of authorization held;

7. The monthly amount of support and the effective date of the order. In proceedings on initial petitions, the effective date shall be the date of filing of the petition; in modification proceedings, the effective date may be the date of notice to the responding party. The first monthly payment shall be due on the first day of the month following the hearing date and on the first day of each month thereafter. In addition, an amount shall be assessed for any full and partial months between the effective date of the order and the date that the first monthly payment is due. The assessment for the initial partial month shall be prorated from the effective date through the end of that month, based on the current monthly obligation;

8. a. An order for health care coverage, including the health insurance policy information, for dependent children pursuant to 20-108.1 and 20-108.2 if available at reasonable cost as defined in 63.2-1900, or a written statement that health care coverage is not available at a reasonable cost as defined in such section, and a statement as to whether there is an order for health care coverage for a spouse or former spouse; and

b. A statement as to whether cash medical support, as defined in 63.2-1900, is to be paid by or reimbursed to a party pursuant to subsections D and G of 20-108.2, and if such expenses are ordered, then the provisions governing how such payment is to be made;

9. If support arrearages exist, (i) to whom an arrearage is owed and the amount of the arrearage, (ii) the period of time for which such arrearage is calculated, and (iii) a direction that all payments are to be credited to current support obligations first, with any payment in excess of the current obligation applied to arrearages;

10. If child support payments are ordered to be paid through the Department of Social Services or directly to the obligee, and unless the court for good cause shown orders otherwise, the parties shall give each other and the court and, when payments are to be made through the Department, the Department of Social Services at least 30 days' written notice, in advance, of any change of address and any change of telephone number within 30 days after the change;

11. If child support payments are ordered to be paid through the Department of Social Services, a provision requiring an obligor to keep the Department of Social Services informed of the name, address and telephone number of his current employer, or if payments are ordered to be paid directly to the obligee, a provision requiring an obligor to keep the court informed of the name, address and telephone number of his current employer;

12. If child support payments are ordered to be paid through the Department of Social Services, a provision requiring the party obligated to provide health care coverage to keep the Department of Social Services informed of any changes in the availability of the health care coverage for the minor child or children, or if payments are ordered to be paid directly to the obligee, a provision requiring the party obligated to provide health care coverage to keep the other party informed of any changes in the availability of the health care coverage for the minor child or children;

13. The separate amounts due to each person under the order, unless the court specifically orders a unitary award of child and spousal support due or the order affirms a separation agreement containing provision for such unitary award;

14. Notice that in determination of a support obligation, the support obligation as it becomes due and unpaid creates a judgment by operation of law. The order shall also provide, pursuant to 20-78.2, for interest on the arrearage at the judgment rate as established by 6.1-330.54 unless the obligee, in a writing submitted to the court, waives the collection of interest;

15. Notice that on and after July 1, 1994, the Department of Social Services may, pursuant to Chapter 19 ( 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2 and in accordance with 20-108.2 and 63.2-1921, initiate a review of the amount of support ordered by any court;

16. A statement that if any arrearages for child support, including interest or fees, exist at the time the youngest child included in the order emancipates, payments shall continue in the total amount due (current support plus amount applied toward arrearages) at the time of emancipation until all arrearages are paid; and

17. Notice that, in cases enforced by the Department of Social Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend or refuse to renew the driver's license of any person upon receipt of notice from the Department of Social Services that the person (i) is delinquent in the payment of child support by 90 days or in an amount of $5,000 or more or (ii) has failed to comply with a subpoena, summons, or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to divorce decrees where there are no minor children whom the parties have a mutual duty to support.

 

20-74. Support orders to remain in effect until annulled; modification.

Any order of support or amendment thereof entered under the provisions of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect until annulled by the court of original jurisdiction, or the court to which an appeal may be taken; however, such order of support or terms of probation shall be subject to change or modification by the court from time to time, as circumstances may require, but no such change or modification shall affect or relieve the surety of his or her obligation under such recognizance, provided notice thereof be forthwith given to such surety. No support order may be retroactively modified, but may be modified with respect to any period during which there is a pending petition for modification in any court, but only from the date that notice of such petition has been given to the responding party.

 

20-88.39. Continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify child support order.

A. A tribunal of the Commonwealth that has issued a child support order consistent with the law of the Commonwealth has and shall exercise continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify its child support order if the order is the controlling order, and:

1. At the time of the filing of a request for modification, the Commonwealth is the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued; or

2. Even if the Commonwealth is not the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued, the parties consent in a record that the tribunal of the Commonwealth may continue to exercise its jurisdiction to modify its order.

B. A tribunal of the Commonwealth that has issued a child support order consistent with the law of the Commonwealth may not exercise continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify the order if:

1. All of the parties who are individuals file consent in a record with the tribunal of the Commonwealth that a tribunal of another state that has jurisdiction over at least one of the parties who is an individual or who is located in the state of residence of the child may modify the order and assume continuing, exclusive jurisdiction; or

2. Its order is not the controlling order.

C. If a tribunal of another state has issued a child support order pursuant to this chapter or a law substantially similar to this chapter that modifies a child support order of a tribunal of the Commonwealth, tribunals of the Commonwealth shall recognize the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of the tribunal of the other state.

D. A tribunal of the Commonwealth that lacks continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify a child support order may serve as an initiating tribunal to request a tribunal of another state to modify a support order issued in that state.

E. A temporary support order issued ex parte or pending resolution of a jurisdictional conflict does not create continuing, exclusive jurisdiction in the issuing tribunal.

F. The support enforcement agency of the Commonwealth is not authorized to establish or enforce a support order for spousal support only.

 

20-108. Revision and alteration of such decrees.

The court may, from time to time after decreeing as provided in 20-107.2, on petition of either of the parents, or on its own motion or upon petition of any probation officer or the Department of Social Services, which petition shall set forth the reasons for the relief sought, revise and alter such decree concerning the care, custody, and maintenance of the children and make a new decree concerning the same, as the circumstances of the parents and the benefit of the children may require. The intentional withholding of visitation of a child from the other parent without just cause may constitute a material change of circumstances justifying a change of custody in the discretion of the court.

No support order may be retroactively modified, but may be modified with respect to any period during which there is a pending petition for modification in any court, but only from the date that notice of such petition has been given to the responding party.

Any member of the United States Armed Forces Reserves, Virginia National Guard, or Virginia National Guard Reserves, who files a petition or is a party to a petition requesting the adjudication of the custody, visitation or support of a child based on a change of circumstances because one of the parents has been called to active duty, shall be entitled to have such a petition expedited on the docket of the court.

 

20-109. Changing maintenance and support for a spouse; effect of stipulations as to maintenance and support for a spouse; cessation upon cohabitation, remarriage or death.

A. Upon petition of either party the court may increase, decrease, or terminate the amount or duration of any spousal support and maintenance that may thereafter accrue, whether previously or hereafter awarded, as the circumstances may make proper. Upon order of the court based upon clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving support has been habitually cohabiting with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more commencing on or after July 1, 1997, the court shall terminate spousal support and maintenance unless (i) otherwise provided by stipulation or contract or (ii) the spouse receiving support proves by a preponderance of the evidence that termination of such support would be unconscionable. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all orders and decrees for spousal support, regardless of the date of the suit for initial setting of support, the date of entry of any such order or decree, or the date of any petition for modification of support.

B. The court may consider a modification of an award of spousal support for a defined duration upon petition of either party filed within the time covered by the duration of the award. Upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection E of 20-107.1, the court may increase, decrease or terminate the amount or duration of the award upon finding that (i) there has been a material change in the circumstances of the parties, not reasonably in the contemplation of the parties when the award was made or (ii) an event which the court anticipated would occur during the duration of the award and which was significant in the making of the award, does not in fact occur through no fault of the party seeking the modification. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to suits for initial spousal support orders filed on or after July 1, 1998, and suits for modification of spousal support orders arising from suits for initial support orders filed on or after July 1, 1998.

C. In suits for divorce, annulment and separate maintenance, and in proceedings arising under subdivision A 3 or subsection L of 16.1-241, if a stipulation or contract signed by the party to whom such relief might otherwise be awarded is filed before entry of a final decree, no decree or order directing the payment of support and maintenance for the spouse, suit money, or counsel fee or establishing or imposing any other condition or consideration, monetary or nonmonetary, shall be entered except in accordance with that stipulation or contract. If such a stipulation or contract is filed after entry of a final decree and if any party so moves, the court shall modify its decree to conform to such stipulation or contract.

D. Unless otherwise provided by stipulation or contract, spousal support and maintenance shall terminate upon the death of either party or remarriage of the spouse receiving support. The spouse entitled to support shall have an affirmative duty to notify the payor spouse immediately of remarriage at the last known address of the payor spouse.

 

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