Going through a child custody dispute can be emotionally difficult and frustrating. This is not some impersonal business deal; this is about whether your children will live with you most of the time, or whether you will get to spend time with them regularly and have a say in their upbringing. Perhaps nothing is more important in the lives of most Virginia parents.
State law puts the best interests of the child first when determining custody. This means that whatever arrangement the parents come up with in negotiations or mediation, or whatever the judge decides, must put the child's needs over the parents' desires. For example, would the child benefit best from a stable housing situation, or would it be better to split her time between each parent's house?
Other issues that could lead to a child custody dispute include:
- Determining when a noncustodial parent is available for visitation time
- A grandparent or stepparent attempting to establish custody over a parent's objections
- Paternity questions involving unmarried fathers
- A parent accuses the other of failing to meet the requirements of the child custody plan
Even a seemingly minor or straightforward issue could have major consequences for your legal rights toward your children. Without experienced legal representation, you may experience an unfair result, such as the loss of visitation or shared physical custody.
Hopefully, with the right attorney on your side, your issues can be resolved fairly easily, and you can move forward with other aspects of your divorce. Then, you can continue to be a big part of your children's lives.