Custody & Visitation

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Child Custody Lawyers

In a divorce situation or other circumstances where two parents do not live together, custody and visitation can become a volatile issue. To protect your rights and ensure the best for your children, a solid understanding of your legal footing is essential. The best way to gain that footing is to hire a compassionate custody and visitation attorney. Your attorney will be an advocate for your needs and rights, no matter the state of your relationship with your child’s other parent.

Types of Custody

Under Virginia statutes, there are two types of child custody; physical and legal.  If joint legal custody is the arrangement ordered by the court, both parents are liable for the development of the child, and they share the rights and responsibilities of decision making. Considering custody can include both physical and legal elements, there are several custody combinations that are options.

One parent can have primary physical custody, but both parents can share joint legal custody. This means they must communicate about essential decisions in the child’s life, such as where they go to school and their religious upbringing. If there is shared physical custody, the child splits time between both parents. For example, they might alternate weeks or live with one parent during the school year and the other during the summer. Many times, courts will award joint legal custody between both parents even if it awards primary physical custody to one parent.

Sole custody is much less common in Virginia. In this situation, one parent assumes responsibility for the well-being and upbringing of the child. Situations that might warrant a sole custody situation include:

  • If both parents cannot communicate or agree with each other
  • If one parent constantly undermines the other and attempts parental alienation
  • If one parent has abused the child
  • If visitation or access to the child has been unreasonably been denied

Your custody lawyer can help you determine your needs and wants and what you believe to be in the best interest of your child when it comes to custody. Then they can help you negotiate with your child’s other parent or represent you in court and present your desires and concerns to a judge.

Custody Case Factors Considered by the Court

Courts review several different factors in the lives of the parents and the child before determining how custody should be divided. Keep in mind that their duty is to uphold the best interests of the child, not to do what is best for you or the child’s other parent. Some of the factors they consider when making this decision include the:

  • Current custody arrangements
  • Primary caregiver
  • Preference of the child
  • Parent-child relationship
  • The ability of each parent to co-parent effectively and cooperatively

Child Custody Problems or Concerns? A Custody and Visitation Lawyer Can Help

The attorneys at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, can provide you with compassionate and affordable representation for child custody matters. We know how deep custody issues run and how these orders can impact your life. We help you set realistic expectations and are here to address all of your questions and concerns. Contact us to schedule your custody case review today. Our experienced custody lawyers help families resolve tough legal issues every day, and we may be able to help you too.