Going through a divorce is never easy. This is especially the case for divorcing couples who have children. Not surprisingly, issues surrounding child custody and visitation are often the most contested and emotionally charged. At the Virginia divorce law firm of Robinson Law, we vigorously advocate on behalf of our clients. Whether you are concerned that your former spouse is trying to keep your children from you or worried that the other parent is not providing a safe or appropriate environment for your child, we can help. With more than 50 years of combined experience handling all types of Virginia family law cases, including child visitation matters, our lawyers have the experience, dedication, and knowledge necessary to put your mind at ease through what is undoubtedly a challenging time.Virginia Child Custody Arrangements
When it comes to child custody, there are two types, physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, and legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make choices that affect their child’s life. For either type of custody, a court can award sole custody or joint custody.
Visitation comes into play when a court awards one parent sole physical custody of a child. In these cases, the court must also award the non-custodial parent visitation rights unless the court determines that visitation is not in the best interests of the child.
If the parents of a child can agree to a visitation arrangement, the court will typically defer to the parents’ agreement. However, in divorces where the parents are unable to agree, the court will devise a schedule on its own. The court will consider the parent’s previous involvement in the child’s life, how far the parent lives from the child and other issues when setting up a child visitation schedule.
Parents can request certain days or periods that they want to have custody of the child. For example, a parent may want to have visitation rights over a certain holiday, school break or special occasion. However, there is no guarantee that the court will grant such a request, especially if the other parent opposes it. If you want to have a specific visitation schedule and your former spouse won’t agree to it, an experienced divorce lawyer can help.What Happens if the Custodial Parent Refuses the Other Parent Visitation Rights?
When a court issues a visitation order, regardless of whether the court came up with the schedule on its own or the schedule was agreed upon by the parents, it is legally binding. Thus, a custodial parent who doesn’t abide by a visitation order can be held in contempt of court. Additionally, a custodial parent’s refusal to allow visitation may result in the non-custodial parent being awarded sole physical custody.What if a Parent Poses a Risk to a Child?
Virginia family court judges are bound by what is in the best interests of the child. Thus, if the court determines that a parent or their living environment poses a risk to a child, the court can restrict or eliminate visitation rights. For example, a court may order that a parent only have supervised visitation with their child. Supervised visits may be overseen by another responsible adult, such as another family member or a Department of Social Services worker.When Will a Court Change a Visitation Order?
Children thrive in a consistent and safe environment. Thus, while courts prefer to keep workable visitation schedules intact, you can request a modification to a child custody arrangement if you can demonstrate a material change in circumstances since the last court hearing. For example, if a child changed schools or developed a serious illness, the court may find a material change in circumstances. Similarly, the same may be true if a parent moves, gets a new job, remarries, or gets involved with legal trouble.Contact the Virginia Child Visitation Lawyers at Robinson Law for Immediate Assistance
If you are concerned about child visitation, either as a custodial or non-custodial parent, Robinson Law can help. Our knowledgeable Virginia family law attorneys take a practical yet aggressive approach to each case we handle, zealously advocating on behalf of our clients at every opportunity. We are skilled negotiators who can help convey your concerns to the other side. However, as experienced litigators, we can also confidently handle any in-court hearings that become necessary. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at (888) 259-9787 today.