Whether the parents are married or unmarried, the breakup of a relationship can be traumatic for children. Virginia courts recognize this fact and place a special emphasis on adhering to a "best interest of the child" standard in resolving the tough family law issues of child custody and visitation. In fact, in any situation where child custody or visitation rights are contested, parents will be required by the courts to attend a co-parenting seminar to understand the effect of separation on children.
Compassionate Family Lawyers With Experience Handling Child Custody Proceedings
At KFFJ, PLLC, we help people on all sides of this complex equation to find practical solutions that protect the best interests of their children.
Fairfax divorce attorney Katherine M. Fogarty represents our clients in a wide range of concerns related to children, including:
- Child custody determination: Unless the parents can collaboratively reach a joint custody agreement, the court will use various factors to determine the best interests of the children. Physical custody (referring to actual time with the child) and legal custody (referring to the ability to make important decisions affecting the child's upbringing) will both be addressed. Our custody lawyers can specifically explain the factors considered.
- Visitation rights/co-parenting time: It is important for children to have meaningful bonding time with both parents. Visitation time (also known as parenting time) allows time for the non-primary parent to spend time with the child and maintain a meaningful relationship. In certain cases, grandparents may also be afforded grandparent visitation rights. We can discuss the specifics of your case.
- Relocation/move-away: Northern Virginia is a very mobile society. Whether a job change or personal issue has come up that would require a move out of state, it is important to consider how that move will affect your children. In custody and visitation orders the law requires parents to provide the other parent with 30 days advance written notice of an intent to relocate (including the new address). In addition to the 30-day notice, it is important to address modification issues to custody and visitation time if the move will impact existing orders and agreements. The court will look at various factors to determine if a move is in the children's best interest.
- Modifications: It may be possible to modify a variety of family-related orders — including child custody, child support, visitation, and, if ordered, spousal support — based on a material change in circumstances. A material change could involve non-compliance with existing orders, relocation, the significant change in income of one or both parties, reduction in daycare expenses, or simply that the child has gotten older and the existing agreement/order is no longer appropriate, given the child's age and development. In order to modify an existing order, it must be demonstrated that there has been a material change in circumstances since the existing order was put in place and that the proposed change is in the best interests of the child.
Call 877-652-1553 Today To Speak With Our Family Attorneys
As our client, you will have access to and will work directly with our experienced and compassionate Fairfax child custody lawyers for the duration of your case. We understand that matters involving children raise many fears and questions in parents. We can answer your questions about child custody and visitation laws and provide you with the experienced and knowledgeable representation you need to solve these problems.