Many attorneys try to sell you their services by promising that they can get you everything you want, no matter what. When you meet with me, my first goal is to obtain the facts necessary to evaluate your case and then provide you with an honest look at what your outcome might be, and whether you even need an attorney.
Throughout your representation, you want your attorney to be honest with you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case based on the facts and the law, and the likelihood of obtaining your desired outcome. Of course, the honesty goes both ways, as you will need to be honest with me about what the facts are and what outcome you desire. I believe that my primary job as your attorney is to simply present you with all the options, based on my years of education and experience, and provide you with an honest opinion regarding the most likely outcome.
No one wants to be kept in the dark about what is going on in their case. I believe that my clients deserve clear communication on all aspects of their representation, especially when it comes to the fees involved and the progression of their case.
Many firms 'hide the ball' when it comes to preparing you for the financial requirements of legal representation. You expect one thing, then your bill says something completely different. I am committed to making sure all my clients clearly understand the financial terms of my representation. I am also committed to making my services as affordable as possible. In many cases, a payment plan can be established to work with your budget.
As your case progresses, you are entitled to be informed about what is going on with your case, including documentary requirements, deadlines and court dates. Some attorneys do not provide copies of any documentation unless requested by the client. It is my policy to provide my clients with copies of all material documentation, throughout the representation. Other attorneys fail to return telephone calls or emails in a timely manner, if at all. My policy is that all telephone calls and emails should be returned within 24-48 hours. Of course, emergencies must be addressed immediately. I have intentionally set up an email, fax and voicemail system that is instantly accessible to me at all times.
My desire to help people through the legal system began at a very young age. I noticed that our legal system is not perfect, and that even when justice has been served the consequences of litigation can take a great toll on everyone involved. It is my goal to provide you with both legal and practical advice that will not only result in reaching your desired outcome, but will also help you come out of the process better able to handle the challenges that may come your way in the future.
Jennifer B. Shupert, Esq.
Jennifer was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on June 11. She graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2000 with a B.S. in Family Studies and Child Development and graduated from Regent University with her Juris Doctorate in May of 2003; she was admitted to the Virginia Bar in October of 2003. Jennifer has been selected by Super Lawyers as a "Virginia Rising Star" for 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Guardian ad Litem, Commonwealth of Virginia
Board Member 2009 - 2013, Virginia State Bar Young Lawyer's Conference
Virginia State Bar, Virginia Beach Bar Association
A contested divorce is a divorce where the parties are not in agreement about all of the issues that need to be decided. This usually requires to parties to schedule one or more hearings in front of a judge so that they can present their evidence and let the judge decide the issues presented.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where the parties have agreed on all issues, or there are no issues to be decided. In many cases the divorce is uncontested because the parties have signed a written agreement regarding all of the issues. In other cases, the parties may not have a written agreement but they do not have any joint assets or debts to divide.
Service members have unique circumstances that may require an attorney having special knowledge of military life in order to properly represent a service member in a divorce.
If there is any question about who the father of a child is, a petition can be filed to establish the paternity of the child. The petition can be filed by the mother or the alleged father.
When a party to a court order fails to abide by the terms of the order, a petition can be filed requesting that the party be required to “show cause” for why they have violated the order. If the party does not have a good cause for the violation, they can be found in contempt and ordered to specifically perform the duties of the order, pay fines, and even go to jail.
When a married couple separates, one of the first issues to be addressed is usually the issue of spousal support. In Virginia, the court must first determine the entitlement to spousal support. Certain fault grounds can bar a spouse from receiving any spousal support, but a temporary order for spousal support may be entered despite allegations of fault. Next the court must weigh numerous factors to determine an appropriate amount of spousal support.
Under Virginia law, the court has the authority to order a parent to maintain medical insurance coverage for the parties’ children, and in some cases for a spouse. The statutes also require that the court order include language addressing the payment of uncovered medical expenses.
The term “arrears” generally refers to an amount of money accrued and owed for child or spousal support. Virginia law has specific statutes addressing the issue of arrears and if the amount grows too high, there are some tough consequences that you should be aware of.
Often called a “pre-nup”, an engaged couple may find it wise to anticipate and agree ahead of time on certain issues such as asset distribution and spousal support. If one or both parties have children from a prior relationship, or desire to address certain assets or debts prior to entering into marriage, putting these terms in writing can avoid many issues later.
A married couple may find it wise to enter into an agreement after they are married to settle certain rights or obligations of either or both of them. Such an agreement does not necessarily indicate that the parties are separating or headed for divorce.
This is the term often used to identify a written agreement entered into by parties who have or who are separating and who intend to obtain a divorce. Such an agreement typically addresses issues such as custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, property distribution, debt payments, etc.
When the parties have already begun litigation in court, and if the parties come to an agreement on some or all of the issues in the case, they can often draft an Order that embodies the terms of the agreed issues.
Representing parties who wish to adopt an individual who is over the age of eighteen. Consent is required only by adoptee.
Representing adoptive parents when an infant is placed in the care and legal custody of a licensed child placing agency.
Direct Parental Adoption:
Also known as independent or open adoption. We represent adoptive parents or birth parents regarding an adoption plan in which the child is placed directly with the intended adoptive parent and parties meet with a licensed social worker to exchange identifying information and discuss future contact.
Representing adoptive parents to re-finalize adoption from a foreign country. Supervision must have occurred in previous six months or year.
Representing adoptive parents who may reside in another state and have made an adoption plan with a Virginia birth mother, or representing adoptive parents who reside in Virginia and are working with a birth mother of child to be born out of state.
Representing adoptive parents where one party is the brother, sister, aunt, uncle or grandparents of the child to be adopted. The statute also recognizes great aunt, great uncle and great grandparents as close relatives.
When the spouse of a biological parent desires to adopt, the step-parent can petition for an adoption under Virginia Code Section
For adults, you can change your name by filing a petition with the circuit court in the city/county where you reside. If the name change is being requested in conjunction with a divorce, no separate petition is required. For children, a petition must be filed and good cause shown for the change. If one parent objects, the court must determine whether the change is in the best interest of the child.
Guardian Ad Litem:
This term refers to a licensed attorney who is appointed by the court in certain cases to represent the interest of the child/children involved in the proceeding. In some cases, the attorneys of the parents can choose who will be the Guardian Ad Litem for the child/children.
Juvenile Criminal Matters:
If a juvenile has been charged with a criminal offense, there are specific procedures and statutes that are applicable. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court operates very differently from other courts, and has unique options for dispositions that are intended to address the possible issues surrounding a juvenile’s development.
Juvenile Traffic Matters:
If a juvenile has been charged with a traffic offense, the Court is only allowed to impose those penalties that are authorized to be imposed in adult cases.
These are offenses that are not based on the motive of the offender, but are based upon an action that is prohibited only because of the age of the offender.
Certain records of juveniles can be expunged from the court record. Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 16.1-306 some records are expunged automatically after a period of time, while others can only be expunged upon the motion of the party.
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