There are many different Virginia child custody laws. Each situation is unique and how the laws apply to your facts is entirely dependent on the issues you are dealing with.
When hiring a lawyer, hiring the best lawyer for YOU, may be very tricky.
The laws are very complex. If you hire the wrong custody lawyer, the consequences of your choice may be disastrous. When dealing with complex issues such as how the rules may impact moving out of state, your counsel must be intimately familiar with how the different regulations apply to your facts.
Abogado de Custodia en Virginia – 888-437-7747
Si usted necesita un abogado para un caso de Custodia de Menores, no dude en contactar las oficinas de SRIS Law group, P.C. Nuestros Abogados de Custodia han representado a varios clientes del habla hispana. Si usted habla español y quiere platicar con un abogado de Custodia de Menores, llamenos hoy para ayudarle. Queremos ser su Abogado de Custodia. Llame hoy para hablar con un Abogado de Custodia!
If you are dealing with a contested case, it is critical that your advocate be aware of the different custody laws and how the code apply to your situation.
Contact the SRIS Law Group attorneys for help. Our counsel have been helping clients with issues related to the caring of minors for many years and are experienced at helping clients obtain help regarding who will get the minors or modify a prior ruling.
The following are some of the questions our clients have about their fact pattern:
- What are the Virginia child custody laws?
- How do I get child custody in Virginia?
- Do your firm have child lawyers in Virginia Beach?
- How does the court make a determination?
- How many cases have you handled?
- Do the Courts favor fathers in Virginia?
All of the above are very valid questions and we will be glad to discuss these questions and any other questions you have about when you consult with us about your case.
As used in this chapter:
“Joint guardianship” means (i) joint legal guardianship where both parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the minor and joint authority to make decisions concerning the minor even though the minor’s primary residence may be with only one parent, (ii) joint physical guardianship where both parents share physical and custodial care of the minor, or (iii) any combination of joint legal and joint physical guardianship which the court deems to be in the best interest of the minor.
“Person with a legitimate interest” shall be broadly construed and includes, but is not limited to grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members provided any such party has intervened in the suit or is otherwise properly before the court. The term shall be broadly construed to accommodate the best interest of the minor. A party with a legitimate interest shall not include any person (i) whose parental rights have been terminated by court order, either voluntarily or involuntarily, (ii) whose interest in the minor derives from or through a person whose parental rights have been terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, including but not limited to grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members, if the minor subsequently has been legally adopted, except where a final order of adoption is entered pursuant to § 63.2-1241, or (iii) who has been convicted of a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-61, § 18.2-63, subsection B of § 18.2-366, or an equivalent offense of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction, when the minor who is the subject of the petition was conceived as a result of such violation.
“Sole guardianship” means that one person retains responsibility for the care and control of a minor and has primary authority to make decisions concerning the minor.
A. In any case in which guardianship or visitation of minor(s) is at issue, whether in a circuit or district court, the court shall provide prompt adjudication, upon due consideration of all the facts, of guardianship and visitation arrangements, including support and maintenance for the minor(s), prior to other considerations arising in the matter. The court may enter an order pending the suit as provided in § 20-103. The procedures for determining guardianship and visitation arrangements shall insofar as practical, and consistent with the ends of justice, preserve the dignity and resources of family members. Mediation shall be used as an alternative to litigation where appropriate. When mediation is used in guardianship and visitation matters, the goals may include development of a proposal addressing the minor residential schedule and care arrangements, and how disputes between the parents will be handled in the future.
B. In determining guardianship, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the minor. The court shall assure minor minor(s) of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their minor(s). As between the parents, there shall be no presumption or inference of law in favor of either. The court shall give due regard to the primacy of the parent-minor relationship but may upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the best interest of the minor would be served thereby award guardianship or visitation to any other person with a legitimate interest. The court may award joint guardianship or sole guardianship.
C. The court may order that support be paid for any minor of the parties. The court shall also order that support will continue to be paid for any minor over the age of 18 who is (i) a full-time high school student, (ii) not self-supporting, and (iii) living in the home of the party seeking or receiving minor support until such minor reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever first occurs. The court may also order the continuation of support for any minor over the age of 18 who is (i) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (ii) unable to live independently and support himself, and (iii) resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving minor support. In addition, the court may confirm a stipulation or agreement of the parties which extends a support obligation beyond when it would otherwise terminate as provided by law. The court shall have no authority to decree support of minor(s) payable by the estate of a deceased party. The court may make such further decree as it shall deem expedient concerning support of the minor minor(s), including an order that either party or both parties provide health care coverage or cash medical support, or both.
D. In any case in which guardianship or visitation of minor minor(s) is at issue, whether in a circuit or district court, the court may order an independent mental health or psychological evaluation to assist the court in its determination of the best interests of the minor. The court may enter such order as it deems appropriate for the payment of the costs of the evaluation by the parties.
E. The court shall have the continuing authority and jurisdiction to make any additional orders necessary to effectuate and enforce any order entered pursuant to this section or § 20-103 including the authority to punish as contempt of court any willful failure of a party to comply with the provisions of the order. A parent or other person having legal guardianship of a minor may petition the court to enjoin and the court may enter an order to enjoin a parent of the minor from filing a petition relating to guardianship and visitation of that minor for any period of time up to 10 years if doing so is in the best interests of the minor and such parent has been convicted of an offense under the regulations of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar law of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction which constitutes (i) murder or voluntary manslaughter, or a felony attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any such offense, if the victim of the offense was a minor of the parent, a minor with whom the parent resided at the time the offense occurred, or the other parent of the minor, or (ii) felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury, felony bodily wounding resulting in serious bodily injury, or felony sexual assault, if the victim of the offense was a minor of the parent or a minor with whom the parent resided at the time of the offense. When such a petition to enjoin the filing of a petition for guardianship and visitation is filed, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor pursuant to § 16.1-266.
In determining best interests of a minor for purposes of determining guardianship or visitation arrangements including any pendente lite orders pursuant to § 20-103, the court shall consider the following:
1.The age and physical and mental condition of the minor, giving due consideration to the minor’s changing developmental needs;
2.The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;
3.The relationship existing between each parent and each minor, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the minor’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the minor;
4.The needs of the minor, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the minor, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members;
5.The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the minor;
6.The propensity of each parent to actively support the minor’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the minor;
7.The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the minor, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the minor;
8.The reasonable preference of the minor, if the court deems the minor to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference;
9.Any history of family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228 or sexual abuse. If the court finds such a history, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and
10.Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.
The judge shall communicate to the parties the basis of the decision either orally or in writing.
In any proceeding involving guardianship or visitation, the court shall include as a condition of any guardianship or visitation order a requirement that thirty days’ advance written notice be given to the court and the other party by any party intending to relocate and of any intended change of address, unless the court, for good cause shown, orders otherwise. The court may require that the notice be in such form and contain such information as it deems proper and necessary under the circumstances of the case.
In this act:
“Minor” means an individual who has not attained eighteen years of age.
“Minor guardianship determination” means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal guardianship, physical guardianship, or visitation with respect to a minor. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, or modification order. The term does not include an order relating to minor support or other monetary obligation of an individual.
“Minor guardianship proceeding” means a proceeding in which legal guardianship, physical guardianship, or visitation with respect to a minor is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under Article 3 (§ 20-146.22 et seq.) of this chapter.
“Commencement” means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.
“Court” means a court of competent jurisdiction as determined by otherwise applicable law to establish, enforce, or modify a minor guardianship determination or an entity authorized under the law of another state to establish, enforce or modify a minor guardianship determination.
“Home state” means the state in which a minor lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a minor guardianship proceeding. In the case of a minor less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the minor lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.
“Initial determination” means the first minor guardianship determination concerning a particular minor.
“Issuing court” means the court that makes a minor guardianship adjudication for which enforcement is sought under this act.
“Issuing state” means the state in which a minor guardianship finding is made.
“Modification” means a minor guardianship adjudication that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous finding concerning the same minor, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous finding.
“Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, public corporation, or any other legal or commercial entity.
“Person acting as a parent” means a person, other than a parent, who has (i) physical guardianship of the minor or has had physical guardianship for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a minor guardianship proceeding and (ii) been awarded legal guardianship by a court or claims a right to legal guardianship under the rules of this Commonwealth.
“Physical guardianship” means the physical care and supervision of a minor.