Fairfax Mothers’ Rights Lawyer

In the past, mothers were traditionally the preferred parent in custody cases. However, this ‘maternal preference’ has now been abolished in all states. Instead, courts and judges must give fathers equal consideration when it comes to custody, visitation, and child support matters, and determining the best interests of the child or children. While these updated laws are important, they might be frustrating for a mother who believes they are the more capable parent.

If you are facing a custody dispute or some other issue, a seasoned family law attorney can help you protect your best interests as a mother. A dedicated Fairfax mothers’ rights lawyer could defend your goals, outline your obligations, and address any complications that arise with your former partner or spouse.

A Mother’s Right to Custody and Parenting Time

A common situation where a mother’s rights are called into question involves child custody and visitation, or ‘parenting time.’ Disputes over access to a child routinely arise during divorce, but they may also originate from a paternity action.

Because judges may no longer decide custody based solely on a parent’s gender, they must base their decisions on a child’s best interests. To determine the appropriate custody and visitation arrangement, a judge is required to examine all of the factors set forth in Virginia Code §20-124.3 to the extent applicable to the particular case. These factors include the following:

  • The child’s age, physical and mental health, and developmental needs
  • Each parent’s age and health
  • The child’s relationship with the parents, siblings, and extended family
  • Each parent’s willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • Any history of domestic violence

Unless a mother can show that joint custody with the father is not best for the child, a judge will usually order that the parents share this privilege. Accordingly, if a mother seeks full custody, she must prove that her request is definitely in the child’s best interests. When a mother needs help pursuing and enforcing their desired custody plan, they should work with a skilled attorney in Fairfax.

Custody for Unmarried Mothers

It is important to remember that a mother can request custody and child support regardless of her marital status. However, unmarried mothers may have to establish paternity before receiving child support from the father.

Under state law, if a married couple has a child, the husband is deemed the child’s legal father. He and the mother have equal custody rights, and both are obligated to financially support the child. If the parties are unmarried when a child is born and the man denies that he is the child’s father, the mother can likely file a paternity action in court to protect her right to financial support.

Visitation and Mother’s Rights

When finalizing a child custody plan, a judge might also establish visitation, which refers to the other parent’s right to spend time with their child. In cases where the parties live close by, a court might award a father with substantial visitation rights. This can be concerning for a mother if the father cannot properly care for the child.

In cases where a father abused a child or has not contributed to the young person’s physical, emotional, or financial needs, it might not be in the child’s best interests to see him regularly. However, in order to suspend visitation rights, a mother must prove that the child spending time with his father would not be in the child’s best interests, which can be challenging. The law presumes that a child generally benefits from having both parents involved in his or her upbringing.

If a mother is worried about visitation being granted to an abusive spouse or father, a compassionate lawyer in Fairfax could protect her maternal rights and help keep the child safe.

How Does Divorce Relate to Mother’s Rights?

During a divorce, it might be challenging for a mother to protect their parental rights or ensure that they receive adequate support afterwards. For instance, a father might try and minimize the assistance he provides by arguing that a wife did not contribute financially to a household. When this happens, state law requires judges to consider how a mother’s non-economic contribution to a family should impact property division or child support.

Meanwhile, if a mother earns significantly more than her former spouse, the father might request substantial alimony or a marital property award. If this happens, a mother deserves a skilled Fairfax attorney to protect her income, assets, and inherent rights.

Get in Touch with a Fairfax Mothers’ Rights Attorney Today

If you are dealing with a divorce or trying to resolve a custody dispute and have questions about your rights, you would likely benefit from contacting a Fairfax mothers’ rights lawyer. Our firm’s experienced team could protect your many rights and help you achieve a result that protects your child’s best interests. You do not need to deal directly with a manipulative spouse or former partner, so reach out today to get started on your case.