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Shenandoah Valley Legal Blog

Understanding how to approach the aftermath of a car accident

A collision can take place under a variety of circumstances, and dealing with the fallout of such an incident can be an exceedingly stressful task. Unfortunately, such an incident can happen in the blink of an eye, and even a minor collision could leave you feeling somewhat shaken up and uncertain of what to do.

While predicting when and where an accident will occur on Virginia roads might be impossible, you might be able to prepare for the unexpected. By understanding the necessary steps to take after a collision, you could find yourself in a much better position to handle the situation.

The poverty danger for gray divorced women

Divorce is one of those experiences that many people recognize can leave both spouses struggling financially, at least in the short term. For Virginia women, however, the impact may be even worse than for men, especially among people who get divorced after the age of 50. New research coming out of Bowling Green State University suggests that women who divorce after 50 and who do not get remarried have a high risk of falling into poverty by the time they are in their early 60s.

Yahoo Finance explains that researchers evaluated the poverty rates of seven different groups of people all at least 62 years of age. The group with the lowest poverty rate included men and women who were divorced before they turned 50 but who eventually got married again. Their poverty rate was 3.1%. The group with the highest poverty rate included women who got divorced in their 50s or later and who never got married again. Their poverty rate was 26.9%.

Field sobriety test inaccuracy rates

If you have recently been arrested for suspected drunk driving in Virginia, you are likely scared and wondering how you can defend yourself and protect your rights. It can feel like you have no voice at these times but it is important to remember that you do. One thing that is important for you to do is to become educated about the various aspects of your case. This includes learning about the evidence used against you.

Before you were arrested, you were probably asked to take field sobriety tests. There are three such tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, despite this approval, none of the tests are completely accurate. According to, the accuracy rates of these tests range from 65% to 77%.

Implied consent and chemical test refusals

If you are like a lot of people in Virginia, you may know that one element involved in an arrest for alleged drunk driving is testing that can chemically measure the blood alcohol content in your system. Field sobriety tests are not able to provide any measurement of a BAC. Instead, this is done by taking a breath sample or a blood sample from a driver. While you may not be forced into providing either one of these samples, the implied consent law does open the door for you to experience some harsh penalties if you refuse a chemical test.

As explained by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, by accepting a driver's license in this state, you agree to consent to a chemical test when asked by an officer. A refusal to follow through on this may lead to an automatic suspension of your driver's license. Some people who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol may also lose their licenses for a while but can apply for a restricted driver's license, maybe with the use of an ignition interlock device.

What if you want to move away after your divorce?

Among the more difficult aspects of a divorce is moving on from the memories of your relationship with your ex-spouse. Oftentimes, doing so may prompt you to want to move away from Harrisonburg. There are may be scenarios where you are asked to relocate as a condition of your employment. Whatever your reasons for wanting to move, actually doing so can be difficult given your custodial situation. You moving away can impact both yours and your ex-spouse's relationship with your kids. Thus, family courts take the issue of parental relocation very seriously. 

According to Section 20-124.5 of the Code of Virginia, you are required to provide both the court and your ex-spouse with notification of your intent to move at least 30 days prior to your proposed relocation. The only exception to this would be special cases where the court deems such notice to be unreasonable (such as cases of abuse where you and/or your children are being victimized by your ex-spouse). If the move is significant enough to make your current custody arrangement unmanageable, the court will likely order a hearing to modify it. 

How do you handle a traffic stop?

A police car in your rearview mirror is seldom a good thing. If you are lucky, you will receive a warning for a mechanical issue on your vehicle. More likely, however, the officer is about to inform you of an infraction or violation that may result in anything from a minor disruption to a major change in your life.

In some cases, the actions of the driver can take a simple traffic stop and turn it into something much worse. One smart thing you can do to prevent this happening to you is to educate yourself about your rights and the limitations of police when they pull you over.

4 killed in Virginia church van crash

Members of a Baptist church in Shiloh, Virginia, are in shock following news that four members of their choir are dead after a pickup truck allegedly rear-ended their van last Wednesday. Eleven choir members were traveling to another church for a revival after receiving an invitation to sing there. The accident occurred outside the second church in Ford, Virginia, as the van slowed down on route 460 to turn into the parking lot. 

Following consultation with prosecutors, authorities expect to file charges against the 47-year-old male driver of the pickup truck, who sustained only minor injuries. The collision between the two vehicles caused the pickup to hit a guardrail after running off the left side of the road. At the same time, the church van came to rest on its side to the right of the highway after rolling over several times. 

What are principal and income in a trust?

There are two types of assets associated with a trust in Virginia: principal and income. It is important to know the difference when you create a trust because you will have the option to have your principal distributed one way and your income distributed in a different way to maximize the benefits that the trust pays out.

According to the American Bar Association, the term "principal" refers collectively to whatever assets you place within the trust. "Income" refers to any monetary returns from the property. Appreciation of the assets could constitute income, as could dividends, interests and rents. 

The broad and important legal realm of estate planning

A Virginia resident from the Shenandoah Valley region or elsewhere in the state might understandably balk when considering estate-linked questions and contemplating the creation of an estate plan.

After all, the subject matter can seem a bit elusive and dense. Many people know that sound estate planning focuses on the execution of a will, but they are not sure what else from the realm might be relevant.

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