Child Custody Cases in Northern Virginia
As one might expect, child custody can become an extremely contested issue in a Northern Virginia divorce case. This is especially true if the divorce has been filed based upon fault grounds. For example, if one spouse has accused the other spouse of having an extramarital affair, which would constitute the fault ground of adultery, the spouse making the allegation may not want his or children to live with the spouse they believe has broken up the marriage and family.
While there is no denying there will be many powerful emotions, it is often best to still try to work with the other spouse and come to an agreement as to child custody and visitation. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will hold a trial and make whatever findings it deems to be in the best interests of the child or children of the marriage. It should also be noted, in many cases, the parents were never married, and, after the relationship ends, a child custody trial will likely be necessary if the parties cannot agree with each other about issues pertaining to child custody.
Another important point about which you must be aware is, while we often see a situation on television or in the movies where one spouse will decide to move out of the house and take the child with him or her, you should never do this before speaking with an experienced Northern Virginia child custody attorney. However, this does not mean that, if you or your children are in immediate danger, you should not get out and call the police immediately.
The reason should not just leave with your children, absent an emergency situation, is because it may expose you to liability for certain fault grounds in family law proceedings in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including abandonment or worse, depending on the situation. While every situation is different, as the facts are never the same, is always best to speak with a family lawyer before taking any action.
If the parties cannot come to agreement, the judge will hold a trial and make decisions as to child custody based upon what he or she deems to be in the best interest of the child. It should be noted, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, unlike in Washington, DC child custody cases, for example, there is presumption that it is in the child’s best interest in most cases for one parent to have sole physical custody and the other parent to have as much visitation as is reasonable, as the facts will allow.
Generally speaking, the other spouse will be entitled to visitation, as it is deemed in the best interest of most children to have both parents in their lives. However, if you believe that the other parent poses a danger to your children, you should express this concern to your Northern Virginia child custody attorney.
The family law attorneys at DiPietro, PLLC have years of experience handling domestic relations cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. Contact us to schedule a consultation today at (703) 370-5555.