Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC.
Q. An ex-girlfriend of mine is alleging that I am the father of her child. We haven’t dated for almost a year and haven’t talked since the breakup. I doubt that the child is mine. What can I do to ensure I don’t get stuck paying for a kid that’s not mine?
A. From the sound of it, your ex-girlfriend is seeking support and maintenance for her child either directly from you or in the form of assistance from the state. When there is no legal father already established (either on the birth certificate or being married at the time of the child’s birth), she is required to identify the probable father. Once she has identified a probable father, the Division of Child Support will initiate child support proceedings against that father. These proceedings include establishing paternity and then establishing support.
When it comes to paternity, you can either acknowledge it voluntarily or ask for a DNA test, which you will pay for if it’s proven that you’re the father. If you have any doubt as to whether you’re the father, you absolutely need to have the DNA test performed; otherwise you will be ordered to pay support.
If the DNA test comes back that you’re not the father, there is nothing else to be done on your part. If it shows that you’re the father, support will be established based on your income and other factors. Also, if paternity is established, make sure that you participate in the process establishing support to ensure that any support amount ordered is appropriate. If there is anything more complex than just looking at pay stubs, you will want to consult an attorney because there are a lot of financial considerations and factors that can go into determining support.
Q. My husband and I have been talking about getting a divorce for the last month or two, but recently he has been very assertive and has handed me some long document called a “Marital Separation Agreement” to sign. Can you tell me what this is, and what I should do with it?
A. The document your husband presented you is what’s known in Virginia law as a written separation agreement. These are agreements reached between a husband and wife who have — or are about to become — separated. It allows them to formally resolve the issues between them that would otherwise be decided by the court, namely property issues, spousal support, child support, and custody/visitation. Virginia law favors divorcing parties reaching these types of agreements. If you don’t have any children, you can get a divorce only after six months separation with one of these agreements. Without one, you’ll have to wait a full year to divorce.
With that being said, you will want to be very careful before entering into one of these agreements. They are binding contracts from the moment they are signed and courts are extremely hesitant to overturn provisions in them unless they clearly violate public policy or are unconscionable. You will want to have an attorney review the document very carefully to ensure that your rights are being protected and that you receive your equitable share.
With that caveat in place, these agreements can also be extremely advantageous as well. They allow you and your husband – and not the court – to make the decision on your children and property and will allow you to avoid potentially expensive divorce litigation. For couples that can resolve their issues amicably, a written separation agreement is the way to go in resolving your divorce.
Mathew B. Tully is the Founding Partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice criminal defense, matrimonial and family law, federal employment law and military law. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit1888law4life.com.
Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A look at the most and least expensive single-family homes sold in Arlington last month, November 2023.
Eighteen properties formerly within a special “revitalization district” in Cherrydale will soon officially be eligible for redevelopment with 2- to 6-unit homes. On Monday, the Arlington Planning Commission unanimously adopted…
Confused with federal paperwork? Statutes of Liberty breaks down agencies that are involved with immigration.
About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to