Legal versus physical custody? Sole versus joint custody? Custody versus visitation? Who pays child support? These questions are just the beginning when your child’s well-being is at stake and a good Arlington, VA Child Custody Lawyer can help you to address them. When you are part of a family disagreement over where a child should live and who may make the right decisions for that child, you need answers to these tough questions and many more. Before you miss an opportunity to help guide your child’s future, consult with a May Law, LLP Child Custody Lawyer Arlington, VA parents recommend today.
Virginia Custody, Visitation, and Child Support
Family Law can be complicated, but it becomes even more challenging when children are involved – so a Child Custody Lawyer is critical in considering your child custody matter from all angles.
When parents have children and the courts have not yet become involved, those parents have Joint Custody of their shared children. Since no court has been involved, no one questions that either parent may take care of or make decisions for that child. Each parent is responsible for the care and upbringing of the child and they have to work together to that end.
However, when a couple can no longer get along (for example, during a separation, divorce, or break up) child custody, visitation and child support become major issues. Where will the child reside? With whom will the child reside? Who will pay for the child’s expenses and medical care?
A Child Custody Lawyer Arlington, VA relies on will have a game plan to address all issues related to custody, visitation and support. A court order related to minors in custody disputes will dictate where the children need to be, and Virginia Law puts the best interests of the child at the forefront. An experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Arlington, VA has handled these kinds of cases and can help. Ultimately, what happens in court will have a lasting impact on your child’s future, so a quality Child Custody Lawyer is essential.
There are two basic types of custody in Virginia. Legal Custody describes who has a say in the major life decision for the child, while Physical Custody refers to who physically has the children at a given point in time. Either type of custody may be split equally or unequally in some kind of joint or sole custody arrangement. If you are given a schedule of weekday or weekend time with the child, then you have Visitation.
A final custody order addressing legal and physical custody and visitation can be worked out through a contested court hearing with witnesses and evidence, or it can be worked out through skillful negotiation and compromise. A good Child Custody Lawyer is comfortable in either situation. If the only option is to put on a case, a Child Custody Lawyer Arlington, VA will demonstrate to the Judge why custody with his client is in the best interests of the child. If, on the other hand, the mother and father can work together to settle the case, an Arlington, VA Child Custody Lawyer will negotiate the best possible terms for his client so that the client stays out of court and is able to move forward in the child’s best interest.
When it comes to child support, Virginia law says that both parents have a duty for the maintenance of their children. So even if you don’t have custody or visitation, you are likely going to be obligated to pay sums to support the child. In addition, if you are the parent who has custody, you may need financial assistance from the other parent to pay for the needs of that child. And that parent may not want to pay, especially if he or she believes that the custody/visitation situation is unjust. In either case, an Arlington, VA Child Custody Lawyer who understands the interplay between custody and child support issues will help you to address these matters.
Tips for Sharing Custody of Your Child
Sorting out child custody issues can be tedious and emotionally charged without the help of a child custody lawyer serving Arlington, VA families. When two people make the decision to have a child together, they will forever be connected. For some, this can be incredibly difficult, especially considering the person you share a child with may be someone you’d rather not see again. When both parents are involved in the care of the child they share, they should still continue to take on an active role in the child’s life, despite no longer being in a relationship. A child custody lawyer at May Law, LLP in Arlington, VA is well aware that this can be far easier said than done. It can be difficult to let go of the fact that your child will be spending much of their time without you. Here are some tips that may be helpful when sharing custody of your child:
Tip #1 Keep the Peace
Coming to a child custody agreement with your child’s parent can be emotionally heated. At times, you may be left feeling incredibly frustrated with your ex, especially if they are being unreasonable. Not only is it important for the both of you to work together for the benefit of your child, but it is also imperative. Keeping the peace will not only need to happen during this very delicate time, it will need to carry on throughout the raising of your child. Disagreements are a normal part of sharing custody, do your best to settle them away from your child and as amicably as possible.
Tip #2 Don’t Talk Poorly About Your Child’s Parent
Battling it out in court following a divorce and subsequent child custody arrangements can leave a parent feeling emotionally damaged for a time, even if they had the help of a good child custody lawyer for Arlington, VA. Talking about your child’s parent in a negative way, while your child is present can make matters worse for your child. Not only will this be difficult for them to work through, it can leave them confused over which parent they should be loyal to. The last thing any parent should do is make a child feel as though they must choose one parent over another. In order for your child to thrive, it’s important that you, put your negative feelings of their parent aside.
Tip #3 Keep Your Child’s Needs at the Forefront
Your child is the most important thing in your world. It’s likely that they caused you the most worry when you and your ex made the decision to part ways. Remember how difficult this process is for you? It’s likely to be even more difficult for your child. Not only may they have to live in two places, they will have to contend with the fact that their parents will no longer be together. It’s important to realize that their will be an adjustment period to all of the changes happening within your family. Because of this, a parent’s responsibility is to put their child’s needs first for the long haul.
Tip #4 Come Up with a Realistic Agreement
Make sure that when you are drawing up your custody agreement, you and your ex come up with something that is not only reasonable, but realistic for your children. Coming up with something that is overly complicated, or taxing for your child can be a set up from the start. A child custody lawyer from May Law, LLP in Arlington, VA can advise you regarding key considerations to make during the process and help to ensure that you do not agree to something that is unrealistic.
With many years of experience under our belts, the office of May Law, LLP has the dedication you need to help endure the legal process. When it comes to matters of child custody, there will be much to sort out. Do not delay in connecting with a member of our legal team so that a trusted child custody lawyer serving Arlington, VA may begin working for you.
Contact May Law, LLP, Child Custody Lawyer Arlington, VA, to Answer Your Child Custody Law Questions.
At May Law, LLP, we’ve helped clients in Arlington, VA and throughout Virginia for over 20 years. We are experienced with challenges faced in family law, and more specifically in child custody, visitation, child abuse, child support, and all manner of issues that come before a Child Custody Lawyer. If you need a Child Custody Lawyer Arlington, VA families recommend please contact May Law, LLP today.
4 Factors That Can Impact Which Parent is Awarded Custody
Parents who separated from their partner whom they have shared children with, may do whatever they can to show they are the most fit parent to be awarded custody. In preparation for such an important hearing, a parent may consult with a legal professional for guidance. This can be a strategic move, since lawyers who are experienced in family law are often incredibly knowledgeable about state laws, and can offer insight into how the entire process may go. Keep in mind that the court doesn’t care so much for parents pitting one against the other, but are instead concerned about what is going to be in the best interest of the child.
Here we have listed the top four factors that can impact which parent receives custody of the child or children. Parents who have questions about the factors provided below, may want to chat with a child custody lawyer in Arlington, VA in their area for further information.
#1 Parent-Child Dynamics
In general, the court aims to pair the child with the parent he or she has the most significant and positive bond with. A judge may ask the parents questions to determine who the child is attached to the most, such as what their child’s favorite television show is, favorite place to visit, current hobbies, and other interests. Additionally, a judge may inquire about daily routines such as whether meals or made at home or the child eats out frequently, who usually tucks the child into bed at night, and who is most involved in education.
#2 The Child’s Preference
A judge may ask the child about who he or she prefers to live with during the court hearing. The judge may meet with the child privately to have this conversation, since it can be both stressful for the child to choose, and parents to hear the answer. Family court judges try to take into consideration the child’s preferences. The older the child or teenager, the more weight his or her opinion is going to be in the final outcome.
#3 The Parent’s Health
The health of each parent becomes a huge influencing factor in child custody decisions, particularly if one parent has become mentally, emotionally, or physically unwell. A condition may hinder the parent’s ability to provide for the child’s wellbeing. A parent with mental health issues aren’t disqualified automatically, but the judge will consider whether the ailment can impact the parent’s capacity to providing love, support, and needs of the child.
#4 Parent’s Financial Income
Employment is a major factor in child custody arrangements, because the child needs food, proper shelter, clothing, hobbies, healthcare, and stability. The judge may ask both parents whether they have work benefits, the total commute time, location of employment, if part-time or full time, and income level. Simply earning more doesn’t make one parent more suitable over the other. In fact, a parent that spends most of his or her time at work and thus has less to dedicate towards being with the child, may not be considered for custody after all.
What is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
When you have a child and you’re not married to your child’s other parent, custody must be determined. This is usually done by the court and provides a stable home for your child.
Physical custody is what most people think of when discussing custody of a child. Physical custody refers to the court’s decision about which parent your child should live with. This doesn’t mean this is the only place your child will be but, the majority of the time, your child sleeps in the home of the parent with physical custody.
Legal custody refers to decision making authority. Unless there is a legitimate reason why one parent should not be able to make decisions for their child, courts will generally grant both parents legal custody. This means you and your child’s other parent share responsibility for deciding:
Sharing legal custody does come with problems. If parents can’t agree or come to a resolution on their own, then the court will get involved to help reach a conclusion. Most times, it’s best to avoid going to court over a decision about your child. It is a time-consuming and costly process. By using May Law LLP, we can help you work out a solution that benefits everyone without the hassle of going to court.
Changing a Child Custody Order
Sometimes it becomes necessary to change a custody order. If you and your child’s other parent share legal custody, problems can arise when making decisions. Sometimes it is in your child’s best interest for only one parent to have legal custody. In this situation, you would need to request a modification of your child custody order.
The court will always look at what is in the best interest of your child. To prove that you should have sole legal custody of your child, you’ll have to present evidence showing why.
This is why it’s important to speak with a trusted family law attorney. May Law LLP has the experience you need to help you determine how to proceed with a child custody modification. The best way to get court approval for a child custody modification is to work with a skilled family law lawyer.
Contact May Law LLP for Help
For many years, we have helped clients just like you through some of their most challenging personal situations. You deserve a family law lawyer you can trust. May Law LLP only does family law.
When we meet with you, we evaluate your case and personal situation and we help you find a path forward that is best for you and your child. Sometimes that path includes modifying your child custody order. Until you have a modification in place, it’s best to comply with the existing order. Don’t start making decisions on your child’s behalf without consulting your child’s other parent if you share legal custody.
Contact us today to meet with our skilled and compassionate team of family law lawyers who can help you move forward. We look forward to working with you.