Child Custody and Visitation FAQs

Civility at Child Custody Exchanges

Tensions may run high when divorced or separated parents exchange their child for visitation. They should do their best to avoid heated confrontation, especially threatening or violent behavior. In one recent Virginia case, a man was initially convicted of abducting the mother of his child by allegedly trapping her in his car during an argument […]

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Child Custody: When the Custodial Parent Wants to Move

A custodial parent can move with the children but often with limitations. The court will look at the purpose of the move and whether it would substantially impair the non-custodial parent=s relationship with the children. The issue of relocation is made complicated by conflicting law, critical facts and jurisdictional considerations.

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Unlawful Entry/Trespass to See Child

Parents at odds with each other must remain sensible and exercise parental rights lawfully. The Virginia Court of Appeals recently confirmed that a man=s breaking into his ex-girlfriend=s home was not made lawful by his claim that he simply wanted to see his child. The court found it rational to conclude that the defendant, who […]

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widowed stepparent get custody/visitation

Can a widowed stepparent get custody/visitation of a stepchild?

It is possible depending on the situation.  A grandparent, stepparent or other such “person with a legitimate interest” (as defined  in the Code of Virginia) may assert a custody or visitation right with respect to a child in court.  Although difficult, the rights of the surviving parent to care for and choose who a child […]

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Parental Rights Vs. Custody

When two parents litigate as to who should have custody and visitation of the children, the court will render a decision based on its determination of what is in the “best interest of the child.”  For example, a court recently gave the mother full physical custody of a child and denied the father immediate visitation […]

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What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

In Virginia, a guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interests and welfare of a child.  Whether or not a guardian ad litem is needed is up to the court. Generally, a court will only appoint a guardian ad litem in a custody or visitation dispute if it […]

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Rights of Grandparents and Other “Persons with a Legitimate Interest”

Although a child’s parents generally have the strongest rights, others may seek child custody or visitation.  These other people are termed “persons with a legitimate interest.”  They may include grandparents, step-parents and others involved with the child.  They must properly petition the court to be heard. It is also possible for a parent to petition […]

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Changing a Custody or Visitation Order

A court-ordered modification of a custody and visitation order is can be achieved by filing a motion to modify the order.  The party seeking the modification  must allege and prove that there has been a matrial change of circumstanced warranting a modification that is in the best interest of the child.

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I Have Physical Custody of My Child, and My Ex has Visitation. Is My Ability to Relocate with the Child Restricted?

It depends on the facts of your case and the specifics of your custody/visitation arrangement.  A court would seek to determine what is in the best interest of the child and whether or not the move would substantially impair the relationship between your child and the other parent. Reclocation cases are some of the most […]

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International Child Custody Disputes

When parties are divorced in a foreign country, a U.S. court may grant “comity” to the foreign court’s decision regarding child custody, visitation and other divorce matters.  That means that the U.S. court will follow all or part of the foreign court’s decision.  Whether or not the U.S. court does so will depend on the […]

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What is the first step to take when dealing with child custody and visitation issues?

The complexity and high stakes nature of family law matters require skilled legal representation. The multitude of issues involved extend far beyond the FAQs herein. An initial consultation is the absolute minimum step that a party should take to learn what their rights are and how to protect them. Contact the Law Office of William R. […]

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How are child visitation matters determined in court?

In making a decision as to who is awarded visitation (and the terms thereof), the Court will be guided by the “best interests of the child” legal standard. Many legal elements and factual factors impact determinations under the foregoing standard. Visitation arrangements are tailored to fit the unique circumstances of a particular child and the […]

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The other parent and I are separated and I am having difficulty accessing medical records for my child.

Pursuant to Virginia Code 20-124.6, all parents are entitled to medical records (with or without the other parent’s authorization).  Click on this link to read Virginia Code 20-124.6.

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What are the basic differences between sole and joint custody?

Joint custody is a custodial arrangement wherein both parties confer and jointly make important decisions regarding the child. A party having sole custody is not legally required to consult with the other party in making decisions relating to a child. However, even in a sole custody scenario, a party may have the courts intervene in […]

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How are child custody issues determined in court?

In making a decision as to which party should be awarded custody, the Court will be guided by the “best interests of the child” legal standard. Many legal elements and factual factors impact determinations under the foregoing standard. Custody may be awarded “jointly” or “solely.” In the absence of an agreement, the court will also […]

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How are fees for legal services assessed?

In divorce and Family Law matters, the Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C., charges by the hour. A nominal fee is required for initial consultations. Visa/MasterCard accepted.

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After reading the FAQs (above), the first step for most of our clients is the Family Law Consultation. At this typically hour long meeting, you will meet with lawyer William R.F. Conners or another well known and experienced attorney affiliated with the Firm. We will discuss your issues, your child and family. In the course of the consultation, we will assess your situation, advise you of your legal rights and obligations and discuss your entitlements and options and remedies. After the consultation, you will have a deeper understanding of the issues which you face, the divorce process and what steps you need to take to protect your rights and achieve your goals.

In custody disputes, our child custody lawyers can advise you on many custody scenarios including:

  • Joint legal custody
  • Sole custody
  • Shared custody / shared parenting
  • Split custody

In visitation disputes, our child visitation lawyers can advise you on many issues including: How visitation schedules are set

  • Minimum visitation schedules
  • Liberal visitation schedules
  • Shared visitation scenarios
  • Visitation schedules when parents are in different states
  • Visitation schedules with younger or older children
  • And many more aspects of visitation

The Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C. in Leesburg, Virginia serves the cities of Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg, Middleburg, Reston, and Vienna, Sterling, Ashburn and Purcellville, as well as all communities in Loudoun County and Fairfax County, Virginia.