Aggressive and Efficient Advocates Helping You to Maintain Your Parent-Child Relationship
Whether you are dealing with a custody battle as a heterosexual couple or a same-sex couple, our experienced child custody attorneys have extensive knowledge litigating and negotiating for our clients in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Edge Law understands the gravity of child custody proceedings, and we further realize the importance of reaching as swift and amicable a resolution as possible.
If you and the other parent agree to a custody and visitation agreement, our lawyers can evaluate your agreement to ensure the language appropriately addresses your needs.
If the other parent doesn’t cooperate, our attorneys are trial-tested and know how to protect your parental rights in court vigorously.
Needing attorney services isn’t always the most fun of things but if you find you need those services your in the right place.John M.
When Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With in Virginia?
A child can decide to live with either parent at 14 or older in Virginia. However, according to the state, children near that age group are typically old and mature enough to voice their choice. That being the case, the judge must consider their opinions for custody decisions.
Child Custody Options
Virginia offers two types of custody – legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the parent's right to decide the child's welfare and education, and physical custody refers to which parent the child will primarily reside with.
These types of child custody may be shared jointly between parents or assigned solely to one parent.
In most child custody cases, it is rare for the court to award one parent sole legal custody; they will likely order the parents to share the decision-making authority. However, it is common to award one parent sole physical custody simply because it is more efficient for the child to have one primary residence when it comes to physical custody. However, the court cannot make a final decision until it evaluates what is in the child’s best interests.
According to Virginia. Code Ann. § 20-124.3, the court must decide custody based on what is best for the children. This includes factors like:
- the age and physical and mental health of the children;
- each parent's age and physical and mental health;
- the existing relationship between each parent and the children (the parent’s positive involvement in the child's life, their ability to accurately assess and meet the child's emotional, intellectual and physical needs);
- the child's needs, including a relationship with siblings, peers, and extended family;
- the role that each parent plays in the child's upbringing;
- the willingness of each parent to actively support the child's relationship with the other parent;
- the willingness of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child;
- both parent's ability to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding the child;
- the child's reasonable preference, if the child is of mature age and understanding;
- whether either parent has a history of child or domestic abuse; and
- other relevant factors.
What Makes a Parent Unfit in Virginia?
The state of Virginia considers an unfit parent who cannot provide their children the proper care, guidance, and support. Therefore, the court will not grant custody to that parent in an active case.
Visitation and Parenting Plans
Va. Code Ann. § 20-124.2 (B) upholds that the court provide the child with frequent and continuing contact with both parents, regardless of the custody decision. So, if the court awards one parent sole physical custody, they will allow the other parent visitation time. The judge will create a parenting time schedule for the child and the non-custodial parent to spend time together, which may involve:
- alternating overnight weekend visits;
- alternating holidays and school breaks; and
- extending visitation in the summer.
Visitation disputes tend to be one of the most emotionally charged issues during a divorce. If you are a parent looking to maintain an active presence in your child’s life, it is vital that you retain strong legal representation to protect your rights. Our family law attorneys at Edge Law understand how precious your children are to you, and we are willing to go the distance in the pursuit of a desirable outcome on your behalf.
Modifying an Existing Order
In some situations, it is understandable that a standing custody order no longer serves the child’s needs appropriately as they have grown up. In such a situation, if both parents agree to a change in the order, the court may approve it. If the parents do not agree, one parent may file a formal request with the court for modification. In most cases, the court will require the petitioning parent to demonstrate a material change in circumstances that justify a modification and how the change will meet the child’s best interests.
If the current terms of your child custody agreement create undue hardship and you are seeking a modification, Edge Law may be able to help. Our attorneys are highly adept at litigating and negotiating modification of custody cases. During the process, we will provide you with the personalized care you deserve. When the well-being of your family is on the line, you need someone in your corner who you can trust to fight for you.
Put an experienced team of child custody lawyers on your side. Whether you are in the process of divorce and negotiating child custody or visitation with your spouse, or if you seek to petition for a modification of an existing order, Edge Law can represent you. We have helped numerous clients through the custody process, and we will put our decades of experience to work on your case.
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Over 5 Decades of Combined Experience
Our attorneys have over 5 decades of combined experience in zealously representing our clients in various legal aspects.