Reston Child Custody Attorneys

Child Custody Attorneys


Top Child Custody Attorneys Providing Guidance and Protecting Your Rights During Difficult Times. Serving Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Why Choose Melone Hatley, P.C.?
  • Experienced, aggressive and caring child custody lawyers
  • Highly Rated By Clients
  • Big Law Firm experience in a boutique setting
  • Client focused approach with one-on-one attention
  • Cost-effective approach
  • Payment plans available

Questions regarding child custody? Contact our office today or schedule a free initial consultation.


Table of Contents:

Custody

In Virginia custody is separated into two parts – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions regarding the child relating to their health, education, and general welfare. More often than not, parents are awarded joint legal custody.

Physical custody is where the child resides the majority of the time. Most of the time one parent will have primary physical custody. The court can also award shared custody, where the parties share time on a more equal basis.

Before making any determination of custody, the court will consider the factors under Virginia Code Section 20-124.3, or the “best interests of the child” standard.

Factors the court will consider include:

  1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child’s changing developmental needs;
  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;
  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 (i) family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228; (ii) sexual abuse; (iii) child abuse; or (iv) an act of violence, force, or threat as defined in § 19.2-152.7:1 that occurred no earlier than 10 years prior to the date a petition is filed. If the court finds such a history or act, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and
  10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

Visitation

Visitation defines when each parent will have custodial time with the child. The court will again consider the factors of code section 20-124.3 before making a determination. Each visitation schedule can vary drastically and will also depend on each parent’s work schedule, the distance between the parties, and the child’s school schedule.

If the parties live in close proximity to one another and the school schedule allows, the court may order a true 50/50 shared custodial schedule. This can range from a week-on-week off visitation schedule, or something more like a 2-2-3, where the parties alternate time during the week and exchange weekends.

In some cases, other interested parties may petition for and be awarded visitation. Parties with any legitimate interest can be awarded visitation. Some examples of interested parties include grandparents, stepparents, adult siblings, or other relatives to the child.

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Jurisdictional Requirements

Before initiating a custody and visitation case, it’s important to understand which court has jurisdiction. Virginia has adopted the UCCJEA, or Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. This statute sets out where jurisdiction of the matter is proper. Before filing a case in Virginia, the petitioning party has to verify there are no prior custody orders and the child has resided in Virginia for at least 6 months.

There can be situations where Virginia will exercise jurisdiction even when these requirements have not been met, such as in emergency motions. You should consult with a child custody lawyer before initiating a custody case to ensure you file in the proper place.


If you are facing a contested custody or visitation case, contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Child Custody Lawyer.

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  • V.M.

    “We have been working with Attorney Marcus Mitchell for several months. We find him to be knowledgeable, professional and he goes above and beyond in communications. We highly recommend him!”

  • R.S.

    “Worked with both James and Rebecca. Both were very professional and worked hard to make sure I was taken care of with my child support cases. I fully recommend them.”

  • M.A.

    “I had started this process of going through child custody at Norfolk JDR with Mr. Hatley about 2 1/2 years ago. He had done SO much from fighting false domestic violence charges to helping me gain custody of my son. I was skeptical when I first came in years ago because I got passed off from another lawyer to Mr. Hatley.

    I was very blunt and had told him that I needed everything he had and that is exactly what he did. He was there for every phone call, every emergency, every email, every court appearance on time and dressed extremely well. He knew his stuff and he had saved me a lot of money and time staying out of court for false charges. If you ever get the unlucky chance of having to go to court you wont be unlucky if you have Hatley on your side. Thank you guys for everything you have done.”

  • D.S.

    “This is by far the #1 Law Firm! I had the pleasure of hiring this firm at the Reston, Virginia location and it surpassed all of my expectations. Melone Hatley P.C has exceptional attributes including:

    1) Customer Service- The staff is ALWAYS pleasant/warming

    2) Communication- Attorney’s are very easy to contact and the response time is rapid.

    3) Cost- The retainer and hourly attorney fee’s are very cost efficient

    4) Client Case- They work diligently on my case”

  • T.F.

    “Thomas Robl is an amazing attorney. He took care of my family when we needed it the most. I will definitely be recommending Melone Hatley to anyone who asks me about a family lawyer!”

  • N.N.

    “They were so friendly and attentive to the matter I brought to them. I wasn’t just treated like “another case”. It felt like they actually cared about me and the outcome of the matter I brought to them. The positive results they got me obviously were the best part!”

  • S.H.

    “I hired MH to handle a divorce. Charles and Angela have been nothing but professional, empathetic, and timely. There isn’t another firm out there that will provide this level of care. Highly recommended.”

  • A.D.

    “Ms. Alexandra at Melone Hatley is great with her communication skills. Very honest, helpful, and keeps to her word. Flawless system that this law firm has set up. Impressed to say the least.”

  • C.C.

    “I definitely recommend this law firm. Marcus Mitchell was straight forward with us and genuinely care about how stressful and hard it was to go to court. He seem to be able to make everything work out a lot smoother than of could have been, thankfully. We will definitely be using him again should we need to.”

  • B.M.

    “Mr Mitchell was incredibly helpful with regard to my legal issue. I received prompt responses, straight forward answers, and service on a level which seldom reached in the world of litigation. Thank you Mr Mitchell. I highly recommend Mr Mitchell’s services for anyone facing a legal dilemma.”

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