Child Custody in Virginia: What Options Do We Have?

In a divorce, usually the most pressing question on a parent’s mind is child custody. During this difficult time, fear of losing equal custody can heighten emotional stress already brought on by the divorce itself. To achieve a solution that works best for your family, it is important that you seek legal professionals to assist you with the case. Tesler&Werblood is a competent team of lawyers in Falls Church, Virginia with decades of experience in family law, including cases of divorce and child custody. With our expertise to guide you, you are guaranteed to be listened to and supported throughout this tough process.

In Virginia, child custody decisions are made and enforced through either a Circuit Court (if a divorce case has already been filed) or a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Laws regarding child custody in Virginia are primarily concerned with the best interest of the child.

Filing a Petition for Custody

To begin the process of determining child custody, you must draft a custody petition to bring to court. To assure your document is meeting all the stipulations for content and format, it is your safest bet to consult a trusted family lawyer in Falls Church. This way, you can be guaranteed that your custody petition includes the following requirements:

  • Proper formatting
  • All necessary information concerning the child
  • All necessary information concerning the parents
  • Desired custody outcome as well as the reasoning behind it

Once the petition is complete, the next step is to file the document with the proper jurisdiction within the county of your child’s residence. In Virginia, you would take it to the clerk of the Court Services Unit of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, assuming that a divorce case is not already pending.

Types of Custody

Parents can be granted the following types of custody: joint legal custody, in which both parents are responsible for the child; joint physical custody, in which parents share physical custody and care of the child by alternating weeks or months; and sole custody, in which one parent has physical custody and the authority to make day-to-day decisions about the child. In the case of sole custody, the non-custodial parent will have visitation with the child.. Discussing your desires with the right child custody lawyer in Falls Church, Virginia will get you and your family on the right track toward achieving your custody goals.

Court Decision

Virginia Code lists ten factors that courts take into account in order to come to a conclusion for your case:

  • 1.Age and mental/physical condition of the children
  • 2.Age and mental/physical condition of the parents
  • 3.The relationship between the parents and children, taking into consideration the accuracy in which each parent can evaluate the needs of the child
  • 4.The child’s needs, taking into consideration their relationships with siblings, friends, and extended family
  • 5.Each parental party’s behavior towards the other when it comes to supporting contact with the child, i.e. their willingness to cooperate with visitation and shared custody rights
  • 6.The past and prospective roles each parent has and intends to play in the child’s life
  • 7.Any history of abuse
  • 8.Willingness of each parent to maintain a close and healthy relationship with the child
  • 9.Within reason, the preference of the child
  • 10. Any other factors deemed necessary that are not stated in this list
  • Just like you do, Virginia judges want what is best for your child. Courts attempt not to discriminate based on sex or race. Unless one parent is deemed unfit to care for a child, or considered a risk to the child’s safety, joint legal custody will be the most probable solution for child custody cases in Virginia.

    Tesler&Werblood: Child Custody Attorneys in Falls Church, Virginia

    To decrease the stress of a child custody controversy, enlisting the help of a family law professional is the right choice for you and your child. Call Tesler&Werblood today at (703) 534-9300 to let us take care of the legal work in a custody battle. We will exceed your expectations and work with you to the end to obtain a suitable solution.