The primary concern of the courts during a family law case involving children is what is in the best interests of the children for purposes of custody and visitation. Virginia Law has a specific code section that spells out all of the factors that the court is supposed to consider in deciding the best interests of the children.

If you are currently in a divorce proceeding involving children, it is imperative that you consult with a Virginia family lawyer with experience in handling children as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to guide you through the proper legal proceedings.

Determining Custody

It is important for parents to know that the primary concern of the court is doing what is right for the children and not necessarily what is convenient for the parents. The court is going to want to minimize the negative impact on the children.

If the children are doing well in school, are healthy, and are well-adjusted, oftentimes that means that the court will try its best to replicate a custodial schedule that is fairly similar to what is going on at the time of trial between the parents.

Child custody can be decided outside of court if the parties are willing to do so. In fact, some family law attorneys in Virginia believe that resolving custody matters outside of court is usually in the best interest of the entire family.

What can be accomplished through mediation, or even on the rare occasion arbitration, between the two parties is some sort of collaborative process that allows the parties to cooperate and reach a resolution that is beneficial for the children. A family lawyer who has worked on divorce cases involving children can assist a family in determining the right proceedings for their particular situation.

Common Issues

There are many issues that can arise in custody cases. Some of them have to do with the children acclimating to having two separate households with their parents instead of just one. Sometimes there can be issues related to children bringing their belongings back and forth between the households.

On occasion, if a parent has started another romantic relationship, issues arise from the level of exposure that the children may have to the new romantic interest.

Role of a Lawyer

The main advice an attorney would give, regardless of the level of animosity between the parties, is that it is critical for parents to provide a united and loving front when it comes to the children. The more children see conflict between the parents and are put in the middle of that, the more likely it is for the children to suffer long-term emotional damage from the process.

Family lawyers can be particularly useful in helping parents navigate the process and look out for certain pitfalls that can harm the children, such as complaining about their estranged spouse in front of the children or putting the children in the middle of marital conflict. A family attorney with experience in handling children will be able to give some useful tips to a client who is going through a custody dispute in the system.