Top Child Custody Attorneys Providing Guidance and Protecting Your Rights During Difficult Times. Serving Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
Questions regarding child custody? Contact our office today or schedule a free initial consultation.
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:
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.
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.
“I hired Rebecca Melone to assist my small business in developing a new contract. She was so easy to talk to, definitely not your stereotype attorney type. She was so down to earth and offered so many suggestions for my business. I was so impressed with her that I just decided to have her write up a new contract all together, which she did in record breaking speed. Whatever your legal issue is, I would recommend Rebecca Melone hands down.”
“I was seeking for an attorney to help me with my child custody/support and Ms. Melone was great. Right from the beginning, she responded very promptly and professionally. She listened to everything I had to say and gave me great honest advice on all concerns I had. At the end everything turned out in my favor. She was awesome!”
“Rebecca proved to be a consummate professional when handling my case, and minimized the damage so that I could move on after my mistake and get on with my life.”
“Rebecca went above and beyond to help me with my case, not only that but she stayed level headed in every stressful situation we came across. She explained everything to me in terms that I could understand and kept me up to date on what was going on with my case.”
“I hired Rebecca for my divorce. Rebecca was very informative, professional and responded to any of my questions in a prompt manner. I was very impressed by the services rendered. My divorce process was as painless and stress-free as could be. I Would definitely recommend her to anyone I know.”
“Rebecca Melone was a great choice for handling our divorce. Reasonable and clear-cut fee and responsive service. I’ll definitely use her in the future should the need arise. Thanks Rebecca!”
“I received top quality legal service and advice from Rebecca and her team. She was extremely knowledgeable and experienced in all matters as the case evolved. I felt like I was in great hands the entire time. The case was settled with a positive outcome. I would highly recommend this law firm!”
“Very prompt in answering calls and replying to email, found her competitively priced and overall gets the job done in a professional and time-sensitive way.”
“We were very prepared the day of the hearing and she stayed with me for several hours until we successfully completed the process and got all the necessary paperwork done.”
“Rebecca is very knowledgeable and helped me with a cross state custody case. She is very easy to work with, got things done quickly, and helped me get the results I was looking for.”