Child Custody Issues in Virginia 

There are several scenarios that can result in child custody issues in Virginia. One common way is when two individuals are not in a relationship but happen to have a child together. Another scenario is when an unmarried couple has children, and then separate and need to decide on custody and visitation. When a married couple divorces, they will need to determine child custody as well.

A compassionate family lawyer can help you understand your options for child custody, visitation, and child support. Even if you have an existing child custody order, a lawyer can help you understand if you have grounds to change that agreement.

Types of Custody

Generally, one parent is considered the custodial parent while the other is the non-custodial parent. While the child principally lives with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent often has visitation rights. Sole custody is when one parent is responsible for caring for the child and has the main right to make decisions for them.

Legal custody is when one parent, or both, have physical custody of the child and the right to make all legal decisions for the child. Finally, joint custody is when both parents have custody of the child. With this type of custody, a joint can be fifty/fifty or some other variation.

Most Common Child Custody Issues in Virginia

Child custody agreements are often filled with difficult issues that come up over and over. Some of the more common child custody issues in Virginia are:

  • Interfering with visitation rights
  • When one parent wants to move to another state
  • Religious disagreements
  • Refusing to allow telephone or video contact between the child’s other parent
  • Medical treatment and care
  • Relationships with and roles of other family members such as step-parents
  • Decisions regarding education
  • Wanting to change custody based on new circumstances or a child’s preference

Know that a determined Virginia family attorney can help to resolve these issues by offering advice and counseling determining a child’s best interest in Virginia custody situations.

Determining Custody and Visitation

Custody and visitation are decided by the court based on factors that the court believes show what agreement is in the best interest of the child. Some of these factors include the child’s wishes, the age and health of both parents, the age and health of the child, the needs of the child, any history of abuse, and the relationship between the child and other family members.

There are other factors that the court will consider as well, but an experienced Virginia child custody attorney can help to determine which will be most significant for each individual case. Know that a pre-existing custody and visitation agreement can still be changed. To change an existing order, the court will need the individual requesting the modification to show that there is a material change in circumstances.

Help from an Attorney

Regardless of your individual circumstances, consider obtaining the advice and services of a child custody lawyer can help you gain a better chance at a satisfactory custody agreement. Not only can an attorney present you with the options that you have for custody, they can also help you throughout any child custody issues in Virginia. If you and the other parent are more amicable, you can even reach an agreement outside of a hearing but your lawyer can help draft your child custody agreement to protect your rights.