In Virginia, custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. Virginia law has set out a number of factors that the court is required to consider in deciding what is in the child’s best interests. Once all of those factors have been considered, then the court is required to decide what custodial schedule is most consistent with the best interest of the child, not the parent. Child custody cases can have a severe impact on the wellbeing of a child, which is why the assistance of a Leesburg child custody lawyer is invaluable.

An experienced family law attorney in Leesburg can help a party figure out what the range of likely outcomes would be in a custody case. A child custody attorney of Leesburg can also help advise a parent about the various ways that they can go about resolving the case, whether it is in or out of the courtroom, by way of settlement, mediation, or another process.

Importance of a Child’s Wellbeing

One thing that is important for parents to know is that the law favors a parent who makes a strong effort to foster a positive relationship between his or her child and the other parent. That is something that anybody in custody litigation should keep in mind when moving forward with a divorce.

Parents should always consider what is in the best interest of the child versus what is in their own best interests. Sometimes, parents, without realizing it, focus on what they would want to see happen versus what is best for the child. It is really important in handling a custody matter to spend some time looking at what arrangements or considerations are going to be best for the child moving forward.

In order to avoid volatility in a custody case, one of the most important things that parents need to do is to agree with each other that no matter what aspects of the situations they disagree on, they will make their best efforts to insulate the child from those disputes. An experienced Leesburg child custody attorney can assist parents in determining the most reasonable custodial arrangements for their child.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody has to do with a parent’s ability to make major decisions impacting the child, such as decisions regarding medical care, education, religious observance, and more. Physical custody, on the other hand, has to do with where the child’s primary residence will be. A child custody attorney in Leesburg can help parents with determining the best course of action for their child regarding certain legal custodial procedures.

Modifying a Custody Agreement

Modifications on custody can always be made for any child who is under the age of eighteen, and therefore still subject to the custody and visitation order. To make a modification, the parties can either do so by an agreement reviewed and approved by a court, or by going to the court and asking the court to make a change. In order to get the court to change the custodial arrangement in a court order, the person requesting the change must show that there has been a material change that impacts the custodial scenario for the child, and that the material change that has occurred requires that the custodial schedule be altered. A Leesburg child custody lawyer can best assist an individual in making a case for the proposed modification.

Material change is often a grey area that can be subject to interpretation, but examples of things that might be found to be material changes include if one of the parents remarries, if one of the parents wishes to move out of the area, or if a child’s school changed and, therefore, it might make more sense for the child to primarily live with another parent who might be physically closer to the school. Virginia law does not define material change as circumstances with any kind of specificity. It is up to the court to decide what a material change is, and a custody attorney of Leesburg can help present information to the court.