In the past year, Virginia courts have addressed a range of family law questions—new and old—that reflect the changing landscape of families and marriage. Questions related to same-sex marriage and divorce have begun to appear on Virginia court dockets, including an important case the Supreme Court of Virginia decided this year with respect to same-sex couples cohabiting and the termination of spousal support. Family law courts also saw shifts in gender norms—wives paying spousal support to their husbands and fathers being awarded physical custody of their children. These legal questions tested the limits of statutory language and helped to expand the legal understanding of marriage, family, and parenthood. In addition, recurring questions about entry into and exit from marriage persisted. Courts addressed varied claims relating to marriage validity, equitable distribution, separate property, spousal and child support, and visitation rights. This brief article provides an overview of some of the most salient cases, and those cases that will most likely have a lasting impact on this state‘s family law jurisprudence.
Allison Anna Tait, Family Law, 51 U. Rich. L. Rev. 75 (2016).