Virginia Custody Law Explained

Virginia law has two forms of custody, legal and physical custody. Legal custody is the authority of a parent or parents to make decisions concerning the child. Physical custody is a term used to designate who the child lives with.

In Virginia the court can award either sole legal custody to one parent or joint legal custody to both parents. A parent who is awarded sole legal custody retains 100% authority to make decisions concerning the child. Parents that are awarded joint legal custody must cooperate and work together to make decisions concerning the child. In many cases, the decision of the court to award sole legal or joint legal custody depends on the level of cooperation that is demonstrated between the two parents.

There are three forms of physical custody in Virginia: primary physical custody, shared physical custody, and split physical custody. Primary physical custody is when the child lives primarily with one parent and the other parent has less the child in their physical custody less than ninety-one days in a year. Shared physical custody is when each parent has physical custody of the child more than ninety-one days in a year. Split physical custody is when the parties have at least two children and the court awards each parent physical custody of one of the children.

The best interest of the child is the paramount concern in all custody cases and the court will consider certain statutory factors to determine which form of custody is in the best interest of the child. The attorneys at The Daugherty Law Firm will fully discuss your case with you and develop a strategy to achieve the best possible results in your case.

Virginia Visitation Law Explained

Virginia law permits a non-custodial parent to have visitation with their child. In some cases grandparents may have a right to visit their grandchildren. The court will consider what type of visitation is in the best interest of the child and the amount of visitation can range from alternating weekends and holidays to much more. Please contact our attorney’s to assist you in asserting your right to have visitation with your child or grandchild.

Child Support Law Explained

Child support is money that is paid by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the care and benefit of the parties’ child. Child support is ordered by the court or the Virginia Department of Child Support Enforcement and is calculated using the parties income, work related child care expenses, health care expenses, and other factors. Whether you are seeking child support or being asked to pay child support, please contact an attorney at The Daugherty Law Firm to assist you in your child support case to make sure your rights are protected.

Sole and temporary custody in Virginia

In cases of sole custody, both legal custody and physical custody are awarded to one parent. The parent with sole custody is the primary caretaker. They have the right to make decisions about the day-to-day and long-term needs of the child, including education, religion, discipline, and medical care.

Additionally, the child lives full time with the parent who maintains sole custody. Child custody laws in Virginia favor neither the mother nor the father in custody cases. There is no legal preference for sole mother custody or sole father custody.

Visitation rights

When sole custody is awarded, visitation rights can be granted to the noncustodial parent. Visitation rights do not give the noncustodial parent the authority to make decisions that conflict with the custodial parent’s long-term wishes for the child, such as indoctrinating the child with a conflicting religion. In certain cases, grandparents, stepparents, and/or other guardians may also be granted visitation rights.

There has never before been a reported case of a court completely denying visitation to one of the child’s parents. Depending on the court’s assessment of the specific case at hand, the noncustodial parent may be allowed supervised visitation only, in which case the two parents must agree on a chaperone — generally a friend or relative — to accompany the noncustodial parent on all visits. It is common that a supervised visitation decision is also restricted to a particular schedule and location.

Temporary child custody in Virginia

In Manassas, temporary custody, also known as de facto custody, occurs when one parent maintains custody of a child for a finite period of time, usually until a final agreement has been reached. Temporary custody is awarded based on what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. If necessary, temporary custody can be reassessed during the time period until a long-term decision is made.

The choice of a particular parent for temporary custody is not an initial ruling and has no legal effect on the final outcome of a custody case. A parent may file individually for temporary custody at the start of the divorce or custody proceedings, or temporary custody can be established in the initial divorce petition. If you have questions about your rights, contact a Manassas child custody attorney at our firm.

Contact our Manassas child custody attorneys

Please contact The Daugherty Law Firm for help with your custody situation in Virginia. Our highly qualified Manassas child custody lawyers are here to assist you. Contact us today online or call our office at 703-659-2437.

We offer reasonable fixed fee arrangements and accept major credit cards.