Questions Relating to Child Custody and Visitation
Northern Virginia Child Custody Lawyer: Providing the Answers You Need
child support, and all related
family law topics often cause much confusion for parents going through
divorce. If you are fighting to obtain custody of your children or you are working
through a visitation schedule with your ex-spouse, you may have questions.
A Northern Virginia divorce attorney from our law offices is available
to provide you with the answers you need. Continue reading to learn more
about topics relating to child custody and visitation.
Does the mother always win sole physical and legal custody?
No, there is no presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother.
How does a court decide which parent will get custody of a child?
The court decides all matters of custody and visitation by considering
the child's "best interest." In this case, the child's
best interest refers to a set of statutory factors that a court must consider,
- The child's age;
- The child's gender;
- The child's physical and mental health;
- The parents' physical and mental health;
- The parents' lifestyles;
- Any history of abuse;
- The emotional bonds between the parent and the child;
- The parent's ability to provide the basic necessities such as food,
shelter, clothing and medical care;
- The willingness of the parent to encourage a healthy, on-going relationship
between the child and the other parent;
- If the child is above a certain age, the child's preference; and
- Who has been the child's historic, primary caretaker.
The court will hear evidence supplied by the parties and may refer the
case for a custody evaluation. At times, a psychologist, family therapist,
counselor or child development specialist may be employed to assist the
parties in determining the child's needs.
What about spousal or child abuse protective orders?
Protective orders, also referred to as restraining orders, can dramatically
impact both a divorce and child custody action. An abused spouse may seek
a civil and/or criminal protective order, which, among other things, may
provide temporary child custody and support, and sole use of the marital
What are the rights of grandparents to visit grandchildren? How may a grandparent
gain custody of her grandchildren?
The court may grant reasonable visitation or custody to grandparents if
both birth parents agree. Grandparents seeking visitation must give notice
to both parents. Grandparent visitation will not be ordered if it conflicts
with the rights of custody or visitation of the birth parents.
What is the definition of legal custody?
Legal custody is the right to make "legal decisions" on behalf
of a child. Typically, these decisions are made in important areas such
as medical care, education and religious training. Legal custody may be
joint or sole. If parents have been awarded joint legal custody, decisions
must be shared unless otherwise ordered by the Court.
To learn more about your rights and to have all of your questions addressed,
contact a Northern Virginia child custody attorney from ShounBach.