Virginia Child Custody Attorney

Some of the most difficult and emotionally heavy issues during a divorce or separation have to do with child custody and visitation schedules.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on terms for child custody or visitation, your parenting schedule will be decided by a judge. The judge will attempt to make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Virginia courts determine child custody by considering what is in the best interests of the children. It makes no difference whether the parents are married or unmarried.
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How Do Courts Decide Custody Cases in Virginia?

Virginia courts determine child custody by considering what is in the best interests of the children. It makes no difference whether the parents are married or unmarried.

In making that determination, the courts consider factors such as:

  • Ages of parents and children
  • Physical and mental condition of parents and children
  • Parent / child relationship
  • Children’s wishes
  • Ability of the parent to meet the needs of the children
  • Primary caregiver
  • Home where the children will live
  • Any history of violence
  • Ages of parents and children
  • Physical and mental condition of parents and children
  • Parent / child relationship
  • Children’s wishes
  • Ability of the parent to meet the needs of the children
  • Primary caregiver
  • Home where the children will live
  • Any history of violence

Visitation Schedules

Virginia does not have a standard schedule of visitation for a parent without primary custody. Judges try to provide a parent with as much contact with a child as possible in order to maintain the parent-child relationship.

However, common elements found in most of visitation plans, include:

  • Weekly or biweekly
  • Birthdays and holidays
  • Summer vacations and extended breaks during the school year

Visitation Schedules

Virginia does not have a standard schedule of visitation for a parent without primary custody. Judges try to provide a parent with as much contact with a child as possible in order to maintain the parent-child relationship.

However, common elements found in most of visitation plans, include:

  • Weekly or biweekly
  • Birthdays and holidays
  • Summer vacations and extended breaks during the school year

Denial of Visitation

A parent who refuses to allow another parent visitation that has been court-ordered risks being found in contempt of court, resulting in possible jail time or a fine. Denial of visitation by a custodial parent can also result in the court transferring custody to the other parent.

It is also important to understand that the noncustodial parent’s failure to pay court-ordered child support does not legally justify the custodial parent’s denial of visitation. The reverse is also true: denial of visitation does not justify non-payment of child support.

Modification of Custody

Virginia Courts can modify custody orders any time there is a “change in circumstances” that would warrant a change to the custody arrangement. A significant change in job schedule, the child entering kindergarten, a parent’s drug or alcohol abuse (or recovery from drug or alcohol abuse), or the changing emotional needs of the child, can all be considered a “change in circumstances” that would allow the Court to change a child custody order.

Relocation and Custody

As careers become more geographically flexible, more and more parents may need to move to pursue new opportunities after splitting with a previous partner. Taking a job when you share custody with another parent can be difficult if the other parent objects. These type of custody cases are called “relocation cases” and special standards apply. Judges have a lot of latitude in order to permit or deny a relocation, and it takes a skilled attorney with an understanding of nuanced case law to properly represent a parent who wants to move with their child when they share custody with someone else.

Slovensky Law has handled many relocation cases, and has developed a unique legal strategy for each case, whether representing the moving or remaining parent.

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