Child Custody/Visitation

Virginia law may be complex in cases where separated spouses, or unmarried persons that have had a child together, are not in agreement as to child custody and visitation arrangements. Parents often fight for the right to sole custody or shared custody of the children. Legal representation is necessary to prevail in such cases. Each side argues its case, and a judge renders a decision based on case law and the specific situation. In all cases, the judge is tasked with looking out for the best interests of the children. Some of the issues the judge must consider, per Virginia Code § 20-124.3, include:

 

  • The age and physical and mental condition of the child;
  • The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;
  • The relationship between each child and each parent;
  • The needs of the child;
  • The role each parent has played, and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;
  • The propensity of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent;
  • The willingness and 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;
  • The reasonable preference of the child;
  • Any history of family abuse, as that term, is defined by Virginia Code §16.1-228; and
  • Any other factor the court deems necessary and proper to the determination of child custody.

Child custody law also involves the awarding of child support by one parent to the other. Each parent works with his or her attorney to present the best argument before the judge. Again, the judge considers all information and decides what is best for the children.