Winchester Family Law Attorney
As families grow and change, from time to time they encounter situations where they can benefit from legal advice or representation in a legal matter. The Winchester family law attorneys at Simms Showers LLP provide that advice and representation with compassion and a commitment to meeting our clients’ needs. Nothing is more personal than your relationship with your spouse, children and other family members. Our lawyers recognize that fact and strive to provide personal attention so we can understand and address your unique family law situation.
Comprehensive Family Law Services in Winchester
Our Winchester family law practice provides services and support in a number of vital family law areas. Call our office in Winchester at 540-693-2195 for help with any of the following family law matters:
- Legal Separation (limited divorce/divorce from bed and board)
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Pre and Post Marital Agreements
- Intra-Family Adoption
- Family/Domestic Assault
- Post-Divorce Modification
- Post-Divorce Enforcement
- And More
Can the Custodial Parent Move Without the Other Parent’s Permission?
One question that often arises in family law concerns an individual’s desire to relocate to a new city after a divorce. The person might get a better job offer or wish to be closer to family, or simply want to start fresh in a new location. The situation is complicated, however, if the former spouses are raising children together and are subject to a child custody schedule and parenting plan. This plan was either created by the parents and approved by the court or ordered by the court following a contested child custody hearing. In either case, the custody schedule represents a legally binding and enforceable court order. Any move that would disrupt that order should not be undertaken without first going to court to modify the existing order, even if both parents agree on the move and a revised schedule.
Virginia law allows for a possible modification of custody orders if there has been a material change in circumstances and a modification would be in the best interests of the child. Parental relocation is the most common reason to modify custody. Under Virginia law, the parent wishing to relocate must provide the other parent and the court with 30 days’ written notice of any intended change of address. This gives the court or the other parent time to challenge the move and hold a hearing regarding how the existing court orders might need to be addressed. Our Winchester family law attorneys represent parents seeking or opposing parental relocations and modifications to the child custody plan.
Interstate Child Custody Disputes
If a custody dispute arises when one parent has already moved out of state, the first issue to resolve is which state’s courts have jurisdiction over the case. This is an important threshold matter that requires knowledgeable and skilled trial lawyers to resolve. Virginia, along with almost every other state, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Attorneys and judges turn to this law to determine which court has jurisdiction over the case.
Typically, the court that made the original custody order has jurisdiction over a proposed modification. According to the UCCJEA, jurisdiction over custody disputes could also reside in the county where the child has been residing for the past six months. Courts will look at certain factors like the child’s connection to people in the state such as family members, teachers and doctors, whose testimony might be relevant to resolving the dispute. A court might also address concerns about a child’s health or safety when deciding whether to retain jurisdiction or send the child to another state where the case will be resolved.
International Child Custody Issues
Seeing your child move out of state can be scary enough, but relocation to another country can be especially frightening if it’s a move you oppose or were not made aware of before it happened. These matters are exceptionally complex and can involve the laws of your state and the laws of the other country, U.S. federal laws such as Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, and international laws such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. A solid working knowledge of all these laws and how they interact can be essential to getting your child back into the states and a local court to decide the custody issue in a forum where your voice will be heard and your opinion matters.
Our Winchester family law attorneys handle both domestic and international child custody and visitation matters. We’ll advocate for you with passion, tenacity and skill to ensure your interests and those of your children are properly represented in any custody dispute.
Get the Dedicated Help You Need With Winchester Family Law Matters
For help with intra-state, interstate, or international custody disputes, limited or complete divorce, or any other family law matter in Winchester or Frederick County, call Simms Showers LLP at 540-693-2195 for immediate assistance.