Child Custody Lawyers in Manassas
How Do Virginia Courts Award Custody?
If you are going through a divorce in Virginia and you have a child with your spouse, you should retain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. There is much at stake in a divorce, and you need to ensure your rights are fully protected. When determining child custody matters, the court will look at what is in the child’s best interests.
Don't hesitate to contact our firm to learn more.
What Factors Determine Child Custody in VA?
In the state of Virginia, the court will always make a custody decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. In order to recognize which parent would be best suited for custody, the court will take into account myriad factors when determining the child’s best interests, such as:
- Any special needs the child has
- The gender and age of the child
- Cultural and/or religious considerations
- Adjustments to the school and community
- The physical and mental health of both parents
- The wishes of the child (if they are deemed old enough)
- Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse
A child may have an opinion on which parent they wish to live with, however the court will only be swayed by their preference if they are old enough.
Call Foster McCollam Wright, PLLC today at (703) 420-7011 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our child custody lawyers in Manassas.
What Makes a Parent Unfit for Custody?
Custody disputes can be very challenging, especially after a divorce. When the court makes a decision on the best interests of the child, a parent may be deemed unfit to carry out their role as caretaker. This alone would inhibit the parent from being awarded custody, and perhaps limit visitation. What exactly qualifies for being "unfit"? Here are some factors:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- A history of child neglect or abuse
- A mental condition that prohibits the parent from caring for and protecting the child
- Not being able to provide proper food or shelter for the child
- Not demonstrating the willingness to work with the other parent or the court
- Not showing the willingness to be involved with the child's life
Child Custody for Unwed Parents in Virginia
If two unmarried parents are fighting for custody, the default position of the court is to award to the mother. However, if the father takes action and establishes paternity, then Virginia courts will not favor one parent over the other, rather they will rule for what is in the best interests of the child. Not all custody cases are alike, which is why a judge will examine all factors before making a decision.
Types of Child Custody in Virginia
Summary: Virginia has three types of custody: sole custody, joint physical custody, and joint legal custody. Sole custody refers to a parent having legal and physical custody. Joint physical custody is when parents share physical custody. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having a say in important decisions for the child.
- Sole custody. This is when only one parent has the authority to make day-to-day decisions for the child, which is legal custody. The parent also has the responsibility to take care of the child physically, which is physical custody. The non-custodial parent in this situation can seek visitation.
- Joint physical custody. This is when both parents share physical custody and care of their child. Parents in this situation will typically alternate by weeks, months, etc.
- Joint legal custody. This is when both parents are able to have a say in the child’s upbringing, including their religion, education, healthcare, etc.
As your representative, our Manassas child custody lawyers will work hard to help you achieve your goals. From assisting you with completing and filing legal paperwork to ensuring your best interests are strongly represented both in and out of the courtroom, we can do it all.
At Foster McCollam Wright, PLLC, our child custody lawyers in Manassas can proficiently navigate you through each stage of the process and help you make sound decisions about your future. To do so, our legal team can inform you of all the potential short- and long-term effects of your choices. We understand how important these matters are to our clients, which is why we right relentlessly on their behalf. You can depend on us to provide you with the passionate advocacy you deserve.
Call (703) 420-7011 or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable child custody lawyer in Manassas.