Williamsburg Child Custody
Child custody is one of the most challenging aspects of divorce. Knowing that, if you cannot come to an out-of-court solution with the child’s other parent, a judge will decide with whom the child lives adds another level of stress and anxiety to the situation. The Williamsburg child custody attorneys at Simms Showers LLP will help you navigate these difficult times, ensure that you are fairly treated throughout the process, and stop at nothing to achieve your goals.
Types of Custody
- Sole legal custody—one parent has all legal decision-making rights;
- Sole physical custody—the child only lives with this parent;
- Joint legal custody—both parents have equal decision-making rights; and
- Joint physical custody—the child lives with both parents, roughly equally.
In the Best Interest of the Child
During custody hearings, courts always choose an outcome that is believed to be in the best interest of the child. Factors that courts use to determine what outcome is in the child’s best interests include:
- Physical and mental health of each parent;
- Each parent’s demonstrated caretaking abilities;
- The child’s preference if they are old enough;
- Proximity to school, family, and friends;
- Each parent’s demonstrated ability to work and communicate with the other parent; and
- Much more.
What if I or the Other Parent Wants to Move Out of State?
Between 17 and 25 percent of custodial parents move out of state within two years of divorce, according to a survey done by the Financial Planning Association. One of the most complex issues in child custody disputes occurs when one parent intends on relocating with the child to a new city or state. There are many reasons why parents might choose to do this, from a new job opportunity and wanting to be closer to family, to seeking distance between themselves and their ex, or simply wanting a fresh start in life. A parent wishing to relocate, or even change street addresses to a house down the block, must give the parent 30 day’s notice, per § 20-124.5. If the other parent disagrees with the move, the parent can ask the court to deny the relocation.
Sometimes the court will allow the moving parent to take the child with them. Other times, the court may determine that such a move is not in the child’s best interests and grant physical custody to the staying parent. Solutions might include:
- The child spends the majority of vacations with the out of state parent;
- The child spends summer vacation with the out of state child;
- Frequent visits to the parent who lives out of state;
- Court-mandated telecommunication time;
- Both parents end up moving to the new city/state; or
- Both parents end up remaining in the same city/state.
As with all child custody disputes, a judge will put first what he or she believes to be the child’s best interests.
Call a Williamsburg Child Custody Attorney Today
Much rides on the custody decisions that are made in the coming months. An experienced Williamsburg child custody attorney will make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Call Simms Showers LLP today at 703-879-1364 to schedule a consultation.