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Michael Christopher Miller

Michael Christopher Miller

Cole Miller PLLC
  • Family Law, Divorce, Domestic Violence
  • Ohio, Virginia
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Michael Miller is a partner at Cole Miller PLLC, located in Vienna, Virginia. Providing representation to clients in the northern part of the state, in particular the area adjacent to the District of Columbia, he focuses his practice entirely on family law matters, including divorce and such related issues as property division, child custody and visitation, alimony and child support. Mr. Miller also has experience with the preparation of wills and other estate planning documents.

Mr. Miller is especially well-positioned to represent armed forces personnel who are going through a divorce after serving for seven years as a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps. His duties in that position often involved acting as defense counsel at court martial trials that concerned child or spousal abuse. When managing the legal assistance office at Camp Lejeune, he oversaw many family law cases involving divorce or support. In his position as the staff judge advocate of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he continued to counsel service members grappling with family law problems. During another assignment at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, he trained judge advocates and paralegals on family law and estate planning subjects.

As an undergraduate, Mr. Miller attended The University of Utah and received a Bachelor of Science in accounting in 1988. He then pursued his legal education at the University of Akron School of Law and was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1991. Admitted to practice before all Virginia state courts, he has been in private practice since 1999. Mr. Miller is a member of the Domestic Relations Section of The Virginia Bar Association.

Practice Areas
  • Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Violence
  • Free Consultation
    I provide a free 20 minute telephone consultation to address urgent matters.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Initial consultation - $300 Hourly rate - varies
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Founding member
Cole Miller PLLC
- Current
Maddox, Cole and Miller, P.C.
Judge Advocate
United States Marine Corps
University of Akron
J.D. | law
University of Utah
B.S. | Accounting
Super Lawyer
Professional Associations
Virginia Bar Association
Chair, Domestic Relations Section
- Current
Articles & Publications
Top Mistakes in Military Divorce
National Business Institute
Speaking Engagements
Top Mistakes in Military Divorce, webcast
National Business Institute
Judge Advocate
United States Marine Corps
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
133 Questions Answered

Q. In va if my child is over 18 and decides to go to college am I still required to pay child support?
A: Va. Code § 20-124.2, "C. The court may order that support be paid for any child of the parties. Upon request of either party, the court may order that such support payments be made to a special needs trust or an ABLE savings trust account as defined in § 23.1-700. The court shall also order that 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 first occurs. The court may also order that support be paid or continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, and such disability existed prior to the child reaching the age of 18 or the age of 19 if the child met the requirements of clauses (i), (ii), and (iii); (b) unable to live independently and support himself; and (c) residing in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support. In addition, the court may confirm a stipulation or agreement of the parties which extends a support obligation beyond when it would otherwise terminate as provided by law." Va. Code § 20-60.3, "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." So, the child support obligation stops at age 18 unless the child is in high school, then it is graduation or 19, whichever comes first. However, child support payments continue as is until any arrearages with interest are paid off. No obligation to pay for college unless there is a written agreement between the parents to that effect.
Q. When you say child support continues until arrearages are paid off, do you mean as they are set now?
A: Va. Code 20-60.3, "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 § 6.2-302 unless the obligee, in a writing submitted to the court, waives the collection of interest." The support cannot be changed, as stated above, they create a judgment by operation of law. The judge can vary the rate at which the arrearages are paid, i.e., less over longer time, or more in less time. Be aware that the arrearages carry a 6% rate of interest, which is a disincentive to drag this out.
Q. Do you need to file anything with court once child graduates from high school for child support termination?
A: Generally, no further filing is required. The terms of the order should clearly state the terminating events. However, if one has multiple supported children, then one would want to file a modification action rather than just proportionally reduce support for the remaining minor children. Likewise, one might want to obtain a terminating order if there is an income deduction order in play or one had a loan application pending that is conditioned upon the child support obligation.
Q. I live in Virginia my daughter lives in Florida. Can I file for custody in Virginia to get her with me
A: The location to file for custody is determined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, UCCJEA. See Va. Code § 20-146.12. Initial child custody jurisdiction. The starting point is the child's "home state." "Home state" means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period. If you daughter has lived in Florida for the past six months, you file in Florida. See Va. Code § 20-146.1, et seq.
Q. Hi I have a custody order in Maryland but we moved to Virgina I want to file for sole custody and change visitation.
A: Virginia would only have jurisdiction if both parents and the child(ren) have moved from Maryland. Your move alone may not be enough. If you don't know where the other parent is, you can't be sure they moved from Maryland. Assuming Va. has jurisdiction, Va. Code § 20-146.26. Registration of child custody determination. "A. A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this Commonwealth, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the appropriate juvenile and domestic relations district court in this Commonwealth: * * * 3. Except as otherwise provided in § 20-146.20, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered." You will use a FORM DC-582 to register the Md. order in Va. Va. Code § 20-146.20 says "A. In a child custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child's present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the past five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party: * * * 3. Knows the names and addresses of any persons not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons. B. If the information required by subsection A is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished." So, if you can't/don't provide the information, the court will stop the proceeding to figure out what to do next. Va. Code § 20-146.7. Notice to persons outside state. "A. Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this Commonwealth may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this Commonwealth for service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is attempted or made. Notice may also be by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice and an opportunity to be heard but may be by publication pursuant to §§ 8.01-316 and 8.01-317 if other means are not effective. B. Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the law of this Commonwealth or by the law of the state in which the service is made." So, if nothing else, ask the sheriff to serve at the last know address, send notice by certified/registered mail, return receipt, and, if necessary, service notice by publication.
Q. My mother in law gave me a cashier check with the minor children name on it. I took the cashier check put it in a
A: Va. Code 20-107.3 has your answers. In a divorce, only marital property is divisible between the spouses. "2. Marital property is (i) all property titled in the names of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or otherwise, except as provided by subdivision A 3, (ii) that part of any property classified as marital pursuant to subdivision A 3, or (iii) all other property acquired by each party during the marriage which is not separate property as defined above." "1. Separate property is . . . (ii) all property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party." In your instance, this appears to be a gift from your mother to you and your children, i.e., separate property not subject to division.
Q. If I have a Florida child support case and currently live in Virginia where do I petition for an increase?
A: Virginia and Florida have both adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, UIFSA. A state that issues a support order has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify that order so long as someone continues to live in the state, i.e., if anyone is in Florida, file to modify in Florida. If everyone has moved from Florida, the person seeking to modify the order has to go to where the responding lives. So, if you are in Va. and the other party is not in Florida, you go to where the other party is. If the other party wants to modify, they come to Va. Then, the state that modifies the order has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction so long as the person upon which jurisdiction originated is in the state. If that person moves, you go back to the petitioning/responding party cycle.
Q. What is the first step to modifying a current support order?
A: Making sure one has a material change of circumstances that would warrant a modification. Then, asking the other side if they would cooperate with modifying the order.
Q. If a spouse is not on a deed or mortgage and they get divorced in VA , does the spouse have any rights to home equity?
A: Title determines who gets the property. Individually title property must be awarded to the individual. Jointly titled property may be awarded to either title holder or sold. Title alone does not determine whether there is marital equity in property that would be subject to division. Property brought into the marriage is presumed to be separate property so long as it was maintained as separate property. The burden of proof would be on the non-titled spouse to prove there were contributions of marital property to the equity in the separately titled property of the other spouse. From there, it gets complicated. See. Va. Code 20-107.3.
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