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Custody & Visitation Attorneys Serving Northern Virginia

In Virginia, as is the case in most jurisdictions, the paramount concern in a custody and visitation case is the best interest of the children.  When deciding as to custody and visitation and considering the best interest of the children, the Court considers a number of different factors enumerated in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3. 

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The issue of Custody and Visitation appears in two situations in a family law matter, which include:

  1. Custody and Visitation when the parties are not married: If the parties are not married and have a child together, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has jurisdiction to hear this matter.  Either party can initiate a cause of action in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court assuming one meets the jurisdictional requirements to file a custody case in Virginia.  The other option is to negotiate a Custody Agreement with the other parent and file that with the Court.  Before filing anything, it is best to first contact an attorney to ensure your rights are protected and to strategize the best way to move forward.  

  2. Custody and Visitation when married: If the parties are married, either party can initiate a custody or visitation matter in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court or file for Divorce and have custody and visitation decided by the Circuit Court.  There are pros and cons to each option and despite being married, filing in the Circuit Court may not be an option due to a lack of grounds for divorce to file before meeting the one-year separation period.  

  3. Emergency Relocation Matters: if the other parent of your child, moves to another state with your child and there is no custody Order at the time, then it is best to file an Emergency Petition to (1) bring the child back to Virginia; and (2) have the Court decide custody and visitation of the children.  Oftentimes, after a Custody or Divorce Order is entered by a Court, one parent may want to relocate with the minor child(ren).  Whether you are the parent trying to relocate or a parent who wants to prevent the relocation, we can advise you on the best way to move forward and the risks you face in Court.  Relocation matters can be complicated for several reasons so it is best to contact an attorney as soon as you either realize you wish to relocate or you know your spouse or the other parent wishes to relocate with the child.