Winchester Child Custody
Child custody is the most emotionally fraught aspect of family law, and for a good reason. The decision made, while not necessarily final, can have a long-lasting impact on you and your child. Whether you are going through divorce or have never been married to the child’s other parent, by working with a Winchester child custody attorney, you increase the likelihood of a desirable outcome in the matter. Our Winchester child custody attorneys at Simms Showers have assisted countless parents in all types of child custody cases; from litigation to simple negotiations with the other parent and the drafting of parenting plans, we are prepared to take on your case and help you through this challenging time.
Types of Custody
- Legal custody:
- Physical Custody:
- Sole or primary
- Secondary or visitation
Fighting for Visitation Rights
A parent with that does not have legal custody and only visitation rights does not have any legal decision-making rights about their child’s healthcare, education, or living arrangement, but they do have a legal right to visitation. A parent may start out with visitation in the hopes of gaining joint legal and physical custody in the future.
Creating a Time-Sharing Plan
A time-sharing plan (or parenting plan) is not required in Virginia between joint physical custody parents, but that does not mean it is not important. A time-sharing plan lays out the duties of each parent, rules, and time schedules in a calendar format. A parenting plan helps reduce the number of potential disagreements in the future. A few essential aspects of a high quality parenting plan include:
- Physical custody schedule;
- Exceptions to the schedule, including summer break, vacations, and holidays;
- Agreements on how to discipline the child;
- How to communicate between the parents and between the non-custodial parent and the child;
- Where the exchanges take place and/or who transports the child; and more.
Altering an Existing Child Custody Arrangement
Here in Virginia, a court may modify an existing child support decree “as the circumstances of the parents and the benefit of the children may require,” according to Va. Ann. Code § 20-108. As such, a parent can petition the court to modify a child support or visitation decree as the child’s best interests change. For example, a court may have believed that sole custody was in the child’s best interest a year ago, but now that time has passed and the situation may have changed, the court may now believe that shared custody is in the child’s best interest. Examples of when petitioning the court for modification may be appropriate include:
- A parent is moving because of a job opportunity;
- Child’s healthcare or educational needs change;
- A parent gains employment;
- A parent remarries; and
- A parent becomes addicted to alcohol.
Call a Winchester Child Custody Attorney Today
When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody, a judge will end up deciding what is in the child’s best interest. It is important to work with an attorney from day one in an effort to either keep this from happening, or to ensure that your goals are met in the courtroom. Do not leave anything up to chance. Call the Winchester child custody attorneys at Simms Showers today at 703-879-1364 to schedule a consultation.