When a family is facing a divorce, often the most pertinent legal questions revolve around the issue of child custody and visitation. If necessary, these issues will be resolved by the court. However, these issues are often solved by agreement, if the parties are able to reach one.
If your case is resolved by agreement, it is essential that the agreement be well crafted and specific to your situation. Depending on your situation, you may want more specificity or more flexibility regarding pickup and drop times. Also, the attorneys at Curran Moher Weis can offer real-world suggestions for visitation arrangements that have worked successfully in the past, as well as caution you about things that may lead to problems down the road.
A well-crafted legal agreement can be essential so that everyone knows their legal rights and obligations, and to minimize the impact of divorce on the children.
Visitation is a right, not a privilege. But, like many rights, it can be restricted or taken away entirely if circumstances warrant it. Visitation cannot be denied, suspended, or unreasonably restricted by a custodial parent unless a court determines that visitation with a non-custodial parent is not in the best interests of the child. When a court has concerns about a parent, it may award sole custody to one parent with no visitation rights to the other.
If the court determines child visitation rights, it will develop a visitation schedule that both parents are required to follow. This schedule will typically also address where the child or children will spend certain holidays, summer weeks, and/or school vacations.
Child visitation rights can be changed for a variety of reasons once a visitation agreement is reached and approved by the court. For the court to alter any visitation agreement one or both parents must petition the court for approval of any changes.
The court must also find that there has been a change in circumstances since the entry of the last court order addressing custody and visitation, and that whatever change is sought is in the best interests of the child or children.
The primary consideration in determining visitation rights under Virginia law is the “best interests of the child.” The goal of child visitation rights is to allow each parent an opportunity to continue a parental bond with their child, even though the marital relationship has ended.
There are numerous factors for the court to consider regarding visitation, some of which include the physical and mental condition of the parents, existing family relationships, and the reasonable preference of the child if the child is old enough. In certain circumstances, supervised visitation or no visitation with the non-custodial parent may be warranted. There are also jurisdiction requirements in Virginia surrounding child visitation that may be addressed in court.
As a parent, it is essential to have qualified, accomplished legal counsel in order to best meet the needs of your children and maintain your parental rights.
The best Fairfax Child Visitation Attorney at Curran Moher Weis has the experience, expertise, and sensitivity to help you reach a practical and enforceable visitation agreement or modify an agreement that no longer makes sense for your family. If an agreement can’t be reached we will present your best case to a court to achieve the best result for you and your children. Contact us to discuss your family’s needs, in the same way as many clients we have helped in Northern Virginia, and nearby.