Tag Archives: Factors for Child Custody

Virginia Child Custody FAQ

Virginia Child Custody – Frequently Asked Questions

Our clients present us with many questions related to Virginia child custody laws. Some of these include:

How does a Virginia Court decide custody cases?

What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?

What is joint custody and what is sole custody?

Are the mother’s child custody rights superior to the father’s?

Are written child custody or parenting agreements valid?

I am the custodial parent. Can I withhold visitation from the non-custodial parent?

My visitation rights are being withheld. What do I need to do to enforce visitation?

What visitation rights do I have as a stepparent or as a former stepmother or stepfather?

What are the grandparents’ custody / visitation rights?

How does family abuse affect child custody arrangements?

How does the relocation of the custodial parent affect child custody?

I am facing criminal charges, but am innocent. How does this situation affect my Virginia child custody case?

How does a Virginia Court decide custody cases? [ Back to top ]

A Virginia court decides child custody according to the “best interests of the child.” There are many factors and circumstances that the court will evaluate when deciding whether to award custody to the mother or to the father. Some important child custody considerations in Virginia include:

• The age of the child • The physical and mental condition of the child • The child’s changing developmental needs • The age and physical and mental condition of each parent • The relationship between each parent and the child • Each parent’s positive involvement with the child’s life • Each parent’s ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child. • Other important relationships of the child, such as siblings and extended family members • Each parent’s role in the upbringing and care of the child • The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent • Whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access or visitation with the child • The ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child • The reasonable preference of the child, if the child is of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference • Any history of family abuse • Other factors that may be presented to the court to assist the judge to determine the best interests of the child.

Our Virginia child custody attorneys apply their legal knowledge to provide you counsel before, during, and even after your custody case is decided. Consulting with a high-quality Virginia child custody lawyer can make a big difference. As a result of the stress created by divorce or child custody issues, sometimes you may rush into making decisions that may not be in the best interests of your children or in your own best interests. An early initial consultation with our Virginia child custody attorneys will help you make smarter and better decisions always keeping in mind the best interests of your family.

What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody? [ Back to top ]

Legal custody concerns the ability to make medical, educational, and religious decisions involving the children. Physical custody concerns where the children reside. Therefore, parents may have joint legal custody, with one parent having primary physical custody and the other parent having visitation.

What is joint custody and what is sole custody? [ Back to top ]

Are the mother’s child custody rights superior to the father’s?

The short answer is no. Under Virginia law, when deciding a child custody case in Virginia, the judge must base the child custody decision on factors such as gender. However, the relationship established between each parent and the child is given significant weight.

When one parent stays home with a young child, the court may take the bond established between the parent and the child into consideration when determining child custody. However, the court must consider all the child custody factors given due weight to each factor. Some factors may override others. Obviously if the mother stays home to raise the child, all other things being equal, the mother would have the upper hand in a Virginia child custody dispute. However, if the mother does not support the relationship of the children with the father (or vice versa), this factor may override any advantage created by the “stay at home” parent advantage. Similarly, if a parent has a history of illegal drug use, chemical or alcohol dependency, physical or sexual abuse, mental disorder, or other factors, the applicable child custody analysis in Virginia may weigh towards the other parent.

Regardless, child custody decisions involve a careful analysis of the situation and a factoring of the statutory child support factors. Neither party holds an advantage based solely on gender for the purpose of determining child custody in Virginia.

Are written child custody or parenting agreements valid?

The answer to whether a parenting agreement is valid is not a clear yes or no. A child custody agreement is interpreted under contract laws… However, the Court is not bound by the parties’ agreement regarding the custody of the children. The standard for the court to follow when deciding a child custody case in Virginia is the best interests of the child, not the parents’ wishes. Therefore, a parenting or child custody agreement is generally a binding contract…. so long as the parties can convince the court that the agreement is in the child’s best interests.

Contact a Virginia child custody lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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Virginia Child Custody

Virginia Child Custody

As your Virginia child custody attorney, our firm handles Virginia child custody litigation. However, if you are not pursuing the best interests of your child or children, we encourage you to seek child custody representation elsewhere.

If you are seeking high-quality child custody legal representation to protect the best interests of your child in Virginia… we are your child custody attorney.

Perhaps the most difficult and emotional part of a divorce or separation is the determination of where the children will reside.

Our clients come to us with many questions, concerns, and worries about their children… where will the children reside, what parent will have custody or visitation, can custody be shared, how do I keep my children safe from an abusive ex, and many others. We have handled many child custody cases, from those where the parties enter into a parenting agreement, to those requiring a full trial in the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, to those appealed to the Virginia Circuit Court, and even those appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals. Every Virginia child custody case is unique and every case is provided the utmost care and dedication.

In Virginia, child custody cases are decided by evaluating the following Virginia child custody statutory factors.

In determining custody in Virginia, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the child. To determine child custody in Virginia, the court must evaluate the following child custody statutory factors:

1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child’s changing developmental needs. – The court will consider the age of the child and the care necessary for a child of that age, mental, and physical condition when considering this child custody factor in Virginia. A newborn child obviously need different care than a teenage child. A child custody decision in Virginia will focus on determining who is the parent better suited to attend to the needs of the child…now.
2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent.
3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child.
4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members.
5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child.
6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child. – This is an extremely important child custody factor in Virginia. The ability of parents to work together to promote the best interests of the child can’t be underestimated. When a parent alienates the child from the other parent for no good reason (good reason meaning in the child’s best interests, not in the parent’s), the court will generally not look favorably at that parent when determining which parent will get custody of the child. There are only very few “reasonable” circumstances when a court will not look unfavorably at a parent’s acts of denying visitation to the other parent.
7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child.
8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference.
9. Any history of family abuse.
10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

Code of Virginia, Title 20, Section 20-124.2 and 124.3

Our Virginia child custody law firm has tried many child custody cases and has a very successful track record of accomplishments and results. If you are in the middle of or about to start a child custody dispute in Virginia, contact us before taking any actions. The strategy taken in the beginning of your child custody case will have an enormous impact on the outcome of the case. Let our Virginia child custody attorneys share their knowledge with you.

Contact a Virginia child custody lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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