5 factors that can affect Virginia divorce negotiations

Divorce is a common experience, and many married couples in Virginia may eventually find themselves facing that process. Instead of litigating, it is quite common for modern couples to negotiate or mediate their differences so that they can pursue uncontested divorce proceedings.

During negotiations, potentially contentious issues may come up that could affect the ability of the process to remain amicable. For starters, there is no question that the five factors listed below could ultimately influence the outcome of a Virginia divorce.

1. Financial misconduct

Whether someone spent money on an affair or use the couple’s credit cards irresponsibly in the last few weeks or months before their divorce filing, debts and wasteful spending can be a real challenge to address in divorce negotiations. Couples may need to separate certain debts from the marital estate to arrive at fair solutions.

2. Accusations of infidelity

Virginia is one of the few states in the country that still has a law prohibiting extramarital affairs. Those accused of infidelity will likely not face prosecution, but there could be financial consequences if they used marital resources while conducting their affairs. The harm done by infidelity and the money wasted on the relationship can come into play during divorce negotiations.

3. Health issues

Although marriage vows often include promises to support one another regardless of how health may change, some people struggle to uphold those vows. Some spouses file for divorce because they don’t want to remain married to someone with cancer or intractable mental health issues. When divorce is the result of health concerns, issues including spousal support and insurance could potentially complicate divorce negotiations.

4. Companion animals

Virginia law is relatively clear about the rights of parents in the event of a divorce, meaning that people can trust that they will receive access to their children. Unfortunately, companion animals do not have the same protection under the law.  Pets can be an emotional complication during divorce proceedings, spouses may have to make concessions and potentially prepare to say goodbye to an animal they love.

5. Major assets

Real property, retirement accounts and businesses can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. They could also have significant emotional value to both of the spouses. It can be difficult for couples to set aside their feelings about one another and their property to achieve a truly reasonable solution to their property division matters.

Identifying challenges that could potentially complicate your upcoming divorce negotiations can make it easier to prepare an effective strategy and establish expectations. Talking through your concerns with your attorney can bring calm to a situation that is threatening to boil over.

How much will insurance pay after a Virginia crash?

The potential for a crash is always there, even though the vast majority of trips in motor vehicles are completely uneventful. Every day, people in Virginia don’t make it to work or the grocery store because they get into a car crash instead.

Many of them have to deal with the headache of repairing their vehicle and securing alternate transportation. Others may require medical care because they got hurt. Every driver in Virginia should carry liability insurance to reimburse others if they cause major crashes. How much can someone expect insurance to cover after a Virginia car crash?

Policy limits and state law influence coverage

Every driver in Virginia gets to determine how much insurance they want to purchase. So long as their policy reaches the state minimum coverage amounts, they can choose how much coverage they want to carry.

Some people only carry the $20,000 in property damage coverage and $25,000 per person or $50,000 per crash of bodily injury coverage currently required by state law. Those basic amounts will increase  as the insurance requirements transition to higher amounts to better align state policy with increasing medical and vehicle costs.

Other drivers may have far more than that much coverage. The policy limits of the driver at fault for the crash will typically determine what reimbursement someone can receive. Drivers who have invested in underinsured motorist coverage can make a claim against their own policies for costs beyond what the driver at fault can cover.

Major injuries may lead to court

In cases where people don’t have very much insurance or someone has truly life-altering injuries, it may be necessary to take a personal injury case to civil court. Even when a driver has generous insurance coverage, it may be necessary to fight for a reasonable settlement.

A successful personal injury claim in Virginia can lead to more extensive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and other financial consequences resulting from someone’s injuries. Learning about what benefits insurance will provide after a major car wreck will help those trying to secure appropriate financial support for the losses they’ve incurred. When questions arise in such situations, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance as this area of law is undeniably complicated.

How addiction can lead to a cycle of criminal behavior

Decades of treating substance abuse disorders like criminal issues have only worsened the struggle with addiction in the United States. Overdose rates have skyrocketed in recent years, and substance abuse has become a public health epidemic in addition to a criminal justice challenge.

Some researchers point to the punitive approach to substance abuse as one of the reasons it has become such a prevalent issue. By treating addiction like a crime, the state helps reinforce cycles of addiction and criminal behavior.

Many states have started seeking means of addressing substance abuse problems in their residents by diverting certain cases from the traditional criminal courts. The drug courts are an alternative means of addressing criminal activity related to substance abuse. They are a way of breaking the cycle in which criminal activity and substance abuse feed into each other.

What does the data show?

A shocking number of people involved in the criminal justice system in the United States have an active substance abuse disorder. Federal estimates indicate that 85% of the people in state custody at any given time have an active addiction or were under the influence of mind-altering substances at the time of an offense.

These individuals often do not get the help that they need while in state custody and continue to struggle for years. They serve time in prison, where they experience trauma that only worsens their substance abuse disorder. Upon release, the lack of structure and social stigma from their addiction will likely hold them back from reintegrating seamlessly into society. Many will re-offend or will self-medicate and end up breaking the law because of their renewed habit of substance use.

How the drug courts break the cycle

Instead of treating someone accused of an offense related to drugs like someone who needs punishment, the drug courts help connect them with treatment. The drug courts require chemical testing and substance abuse treatment, as well as frequent interactions with court officials.

Successful completion of the drug court process can help people regain control over their substance abuse disorders while simultaneously avoiding criminal conviction and incarceration in state facilities. Recognizing how a substance abuse issue may have contributed to recent criminal charges can help those hoping to improve their lives after an arrest.