Child Custody & Visitation
Despite the common belief that all court cases result in a winner and a loser, cases involving the custody and visitation of children are rarely so black and white. When determining custody and visitation, Virginia law is generally based around the fundamental principal that, regardless of the parties or the circumstances, a child’s “best interests” must be protected. This standard is highly subjective, and affords judges with wide discretion when deciding custody and visitation matters.
Issues related to the upbringing of children are rarely the only or even the predominant factor that leads parties to seek divorce. But due to the fact that issues of custody and visitation are usually intertwined with other divorce issues, it is not uncommon for parties to treat the custody and visitation of their children as merely another ground on which to wage battle with one another. Unfortunately, as most studies make clear, children are harmed by high levels of conflict between parents, and therefore stand to suffer tremendously when their interests are confused with and litigated alongside the interests of their respective parents.
Although most custody and visitation cases arise between natural parents, the standing to seek custody and/or visitation is not limited to natural parents. In certain circumstances, grandparents, other relatives, and even unrelated third parties have standing to seek custody and visitation.
Regardless of the adult parties involved, it is extremely important for the parties to realize that they love the child or children, and that, despite personal conflict, they should take great care in focusing on the child or children’s best interests. Ideally, parties communicate regarding such issues and, with the help of their attorneys (and, in some cases, other professionals), attempt to resolve custody and visitation by agreement. As in other family law matters, however, parties cannot always agree on custody and visitation issues, and instead must obtain court intervention to resolve the dispute.
Steve Raynor has handled hundreds of custody and visitation cases over the last twenty-five years. We are dedicated to helping you work cooperatively to resolve all custody and visitation issues by agreement. If full agreement is not possible, we will provide capable courtroom representation to help you obtain a ruling in the best interests of your child or children.