Child Visitation Lawyer in Virginia Beach
Protect Your Visitation Rights
Deciding on a custody agreement is one of the most difficult decisions made during the divorce process. Typically, conservatorship and visitation schedules are strictly defined before a divorce is finalized. Virginia law is very firm about giving both parents time with their child, and a custodial parent can lose custody if they deny the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. At The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, our family law firm can help you navigate Virginia custody laws and protect your visitation rights.
Contact us at (757) 267-4949 to schedule a consultation.
Virginia Visitation Laws
Virginia offers both joint and sole custody options, but doesn’t have a standard visitation schedule for the court to order. It’s up to the parents or a judge to define the structure of the visitation schedule.
A visitation schedule must:
- Represent the best interests of the child
- Give both parents time to maintain a healthy relationship with the child
In Virginia, a noncustodial parent is allowed visitation time with their child, but is not able to counter any of the rules or decisions made by the custodial parent.
Who can have visitation rights:
Other family members can receive visitation rights by hiring a lawyer and pleading their case to the court.
Grandparents Visitation & Custodial Rights
For many kids, there’s nothing more special than their relationship with their grandparents, and there are many grandparents who feel the same way. But there are situations where the grandparents are pushed to the side and are unable to see their grandchildren. Parents and guardians may give various reasons why the grandparents can’t see the kids, but it’s left many to wonder if grandparents have visitation or custodial rights.
Virginia law does not recognize an independent right of grandparents to see and visit their grandchildren without the consent of the parents, but grandparents can petition the court for visitation or custodial rights. Any nonparent who wants visitation with a child must have a legitimate interest, and the state of Virginia recognizes grandparents as having such an interest.
If both parents oppose the grandparent’s visitation, the grandparent must prove that denial of visitation could result in actual harm to the child. This can be very difficult to prove and often requires a mental health expert to provide testimony. If one parent agrees to visitation while the other does not, the grandparent must prove by clear and convincing evidence that their visitation is in the best interest of the child. They’ll look at factors like age, physical and mental well-being, and the needs of the child among other things.
For a grandparent to gain custody of their grandchild, there must be extreme circumstances that warrant such a drastic measure. The grandparent must provide clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit, there was voluntary relinquishment, the parent abandoned the child, or a few other special circumstances. Even if the grandparent can prove the parents aren’t fit to raise the child, they still will need to prove that gaining custody of their grandchild is in the best interest of the child.
Sometimes, parents feel they are unable to take care of their children and give permission to the grandparents to take custody of the children. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to make sure the agreement is in a court order.
The court has the power to deny visitation, especially in cases where a noncustodial parent stops paying child support or keeps a child beyond the limits of the custody order. If you are a noncustodial parent and fail to return your child after 48 hours, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and imprisoned for up to a month. If you take your child beyond state lines, you will be charged with a felony, fined $250-$1,000, and imprisoned up to a year.
As a noncustodial parent, you do have a right to protect your children if they are in danger. This is the only exception to the 48-hour rule. In this circumstance, you will need the assistance of an attorney to help you file a petition and modify the custody order.
By retaining the services of an attorney, you can petition to modify a custody order. To do this, you need to prove that your living situation is significantly better than the custodial parent’s. The court will always do what’s best for the child but will not alter the custody order if both living situations are of equal quality.
We Can Represent You
Virginia law is very strict about ensuring a child has time with both parents. At The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, our visitation attorney has extensive knowledge of Virginia’s custody laws and can help protect your visitation rights. If your ex-partner won't let you see your child, our Virginia Beach attorneys can help navigate what to do next. When you schedule a consultation, our lawyer will review your case and strategize a plan based on your personal circumstances.
Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 267-4949 to review your visitation rights.
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