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Child Custody Virginia Visitation Rights Lawyers Winchester County

Child Custody Virginia Visitation Rights Lawyers Winchester County

GEE BETH v. ROTHY
Facts:

The child at the center of this dispute is a five-year-old girl named Mary Beth. In 1989, the Tazewell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court found that Mary Beth’s mother was not a fit and proper person to have custody of her. The court awarded custody to the paternal grandparents and the mother was granted alternate weekend visitation, provided that such visitation take place at the Department of Social Services offices “in the actual presence of a social worker. The child’s visitations with her mother had been less than satisfactory. Subsequently the grand parents purchased a retirement home and, together with Mary Beth, relocated to Columbia, South Carolina. The mother filed a motion with the Winchester County J&DR Court, which was ultimately heard de novo in circuit court, to retain jurisdiction, to eliminate supervised visitation, to maintain visitation in Virginia, and to hold the grandparents in contempt for interfering with the mother’s visitation rights and for relocating without the court’s prior approval. The court denied the mother’s requests and transferred jurisdiction over all custody and visitation issues concerning the mother’s minor child to the South Carolina courts pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. Mother appealed the order.

Child Custody Virginia Visitation Rights Lawyers Winchester County

Child Custody Virginia Visitation Rights Lawyers

Issues:
  • Whether the trial court erred in transferring jurisdiction over all custody and visitation issues concerning the child to the South Carolina courts under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act?
Discussion:

This court held that in this instance, the circuit court determined that Virginia was no longer the proper jurisdiction for resolving future visitation and custody issues because South Carolina is now the child’s residence. Evidence concerning the child’s future care, welfare, protection, and personal relationships is more readily available and reviewable in the South Carolina courts. The trial court did not err by placing greater emphasis upon the child’s present residence as the most significant controlling factor in deciding which jurisdiction was most convenient and in transferring jurisdiction to South Carolina. This court held that the trial court did not err by refusing to hold the grandparents in contempt. Their move to South Carolina did not violate the terms of the custody and visitation decree, which provides for “visitation to be no more than two times per month.” Furthermore, although the custodial grandparents were required to abide by the visitation provisions, no evidence suggests that they acted “in bad faith or for willful disobedience of [the court’s] order Although an earlier decree had required the visitation to occur at the DSS in Virginia, the most recent decree had removed that requirement and provided only that visitation be “supervised.” Accordingly, even if the grandparents did not strictly adhere to the visitation provisions, the trial court did not err in finding that the mother’s supervised visitation could be continued in South Carolina and in refusing to hold that the grandparents willfully disobeyed the court’s order.

The SRIS Law Group Virginia lawyers will do their best to help you with your child custody/visitation case. Contact a Virginia lawyer from our firm to discuss your child custody/visitation case. A Virginia lawyer from our firm will talk with you about your child custody/visitation case in Virginia and advise you about your options. You can count on a lawyer from our firm to try their best to help you obtain the best result possible based on the facts of your case.

We have client meeting locations in Fairfax County, Prince William, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg & Lynchburg.

Article written by A Sris

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Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

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