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Beth M McCord Paleos

  • Divorce, Domestic Violence, Family Law
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I graduated from Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. in 2001. I received my undergraduate degree in psychology at Arizona State University in 1991. I was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 2001. Since then, I have been practicing law in Virginia with an emphasis on family law matters, including divorce, custody & visitation, child and spousal support, and domestic violence.

Practice Areas
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Violence
  • Family Law
American University Washington College of Law
J.D. | Law
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Arizona State University
B.S. | Psychology
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Legal Answers
7 Questions Answered

Q. My x-husband will not give me a copy of my divorce papers and is trying to make me pay $200 to get them is this illegal?
A: Your ex is not required to provide you with a copy. You can request a certified copy of your divorce papers directly from the court where you were divorced for a few dollars.
Q. What can i do, if my girlfriend, who just had my baby, wont let me see the child without her familys supervision?
A: You could obtain custody and/or visitation rights by filing a Petition for Custody and a Petition for Visitation in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. While waiting for your court date, you may be able to work with the mother to obtain some form of agreed-upon visitation with your baby. The mother and/or her family may be worried that you don't know how to care for an infant. Their fears may be alleviated if you can show them that you know how to take care of the basic needs of an infant, including feeding, changing diapers, proper use of a car seat during tansportation, etc. The mother may agree to unsupervised visitation, while waiting for your court date, if you can show them that you know how to do these things. Infants are extremely fragile and human instinct often causes other family members to be afraid to turn the child over to the care of another, even if you are the father. If the mother will still not agree, then in court, you will need to show that you know how to care for the basic needs of an infant and that you are a competent, "fit" father. If you are able to hire an attorney, that would certainly be preferable to going it alone. But if you can't afford an attorney, it is certainly possible to represent yourself successfully, keeping in mind that you will need to show the court that custody and/or visition with you, the child's father, is in the best interest of the child. The general view of Virginia law is that a child is better off with a meaningful relationship with BOTH parents. Good luck to you and I hope you are able to spend quality time with your child as soon as possible. Beth McCord Paleos
Q. I currently have joint custody from an agreement signed by me and my ex wife, she is now trying to leave the state.
A: That depends entirely on the provisions of your agreement or court order (what, if anything, your agreement or court order state regarding relocation of the child). If your agreement states that the parent with physical custody of the child may not relocate the child out of state or beyond a certain area, then the other parent is vwill be violating it by moving the child and you could file a motion to have your agreement enforced and prevent the relocation of the chil. However, without such a provision in an agreement or court order, there is no general law that prohibits a parent with physical custody of a child from relocating the child to another state or area. If your rights are not protected by such a provision, there is a Virginia statute that was enacted to protect you. In Virginia, a parent must give the court and the other parent 30 days notice of any intended change of address in writing. The purpose is to allow the parent who does not have physical custody of the child with an opportunity to file a motion with the court to order the parent not to relocate the child, and/or a petition to change custody. Relocation law in Virginia is VERY dependent upon the particular circumstances of the case and it is extremely difficult for even an experienced attorney to predict the outcome of a relocation case. What the court will take into consideration in deciding a relocation case includes, but is not limited to, the effect that the relocation will have on the other parent's visitation with the child or the other parent's ability to maintain a relationship with the child over the distance, and whether the relocation of the child will benefit the child (independently of any benefit the move will have for the relocating parent). You should file a motion if you fear that the relocation will impair your ability to visit your child or maintian a meaningful relationship with your child. However, you are well advised to hire an attorney to represent you. But do not forget to consider what is actually best for your child. There are methods, other than having a judge make the decision for you, to achieve the best interests of your child, including mediation. Beth McCord Paleos, Esq. McCord Law Office mccordlawoffice.ocm
Q. Can a child age 5 be questioned without a parent present?
A: That depends on who is doing the questioning and why. It's not possible to answer your question without knowing this.
Q. My children live in Virginia Beach, I live in Dubai. Can my ex be liable for half of the travel expense?
A: Only if a court has already ordered the other parent to do so. Whether or not you can convince a judge to order the other parent to pay a share of travel costs for child visitation will depend on your relative financial abilities and the reason that you live so far away, and possbily other factors. It is not uncommon for parents to be ordered to share the cost of transporation for child visitation. Beth McCord Paleos McCord Law Office
Q. I live in VA. I am seeking spousal support. My husband is $35,000.00 in debt., will that have an effect on my award?
A: Yes, if your husband is required to make payments on that debt, the judge may take it into account in calculating a spousal support amount. Once the court has determined whether you are eligible to receive spousal support (you may not be eligible if fault-based grounds for divorce exist against you), the court will weigh the relative financial needs of the parties and their abilities to pay, and it will consider the factors in Virginia Code section 20-107.1(E). The factors include the financial "obligations" of the parties. Payments on that debt are an obligation that affects his ability to pay you. Beth McCord Paleos McCOrd Law Office
Q. I have just been awarded sole custody of my child with no visitation being set with the courts. what does this mean?
A: If there is no court-ordered visitation for the other parent, the other parent does not have a legal right to visitation. To gain a legal right to visitation, the other parent will have to file a petition for visitation. Of course, you can choose to allow the other parent to visit the child, and it is generally understood that a child benefits more from having a meaningful relationship with both parents rather than just one parent. However, if you have concerns over the other parent's ability to properly care for the child during visitation, or believe the child would not be safe, you can choose not to allow visitation. In that case, if the other parent files for visitation in the court, you need to explain to the judge exactly what your concerns are and why. Also keep in mind that if you deny the other parent access to the child without good reason, even if there is no visitation order in place, it could affect you negatively in any future custody or visitation dispute. That is because in Virginia, one of the factors that the court takes into consideration when making custody and visitation decisions, is each parent's ability or willingness to allow the other parent to have a relationship with the child. If you are not sure whether your child is safe with the other parent, you should consult with an attorney about the details of your situation, and a child counselor as well. If you believe that your child has been abused by, or is in danger because of the other parent, you should report it to Child Protective Services at once. I hope this information will be helpful to you, and good luck. Beth McCord Paleos, Esq. McCord Law Office
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McCord Law Office
P.O. Box 264
Leesburg, VA 20178
Telephone: (703) 498-1365