Virginia Child Custody Laws
In the state of Virginia, following a divorce, the parent with child custody must file a notice and obtain court approval in order to move out of state with a minor child. After the divorce has been finalized, the parent with child custody may decide to move out of the state of Virginia due to a certain circumstance. If a child or children are involved, then depending on minor guardianship agreements it may not be as easy as it may seem as parents may require permission from the court.
When a juvenile custody agreement exists, the parent seeking to relocate with a minor or children must prove that this relocation will not harm the relationship between the juvenile or children moving and the parent not moving. Under juvenile custody laws in Virginia, it is generally required that the parent who intends to relocate provides written notice to the court and the other parent at least thirty days prior to the move.
This is found under section 20-124.5 in the Code of Virginia. After receiving this notice, the other caretaker may agree or disagree with the petition for relocation.
Usually, the easiest way for a guardian to gain approval for moving out of Virginia with minor children is by getting permission from the other caretaker. The guardians may work together to create a modified visitation schedule. Such schedules will accommodate for the increased physical distance between the caretaker and will include longer visits. Usually, the Virginian court will not object as long as the other caretaker agrees with the changes.
Often, the other caretaker may object to the petition of relocation. In these situations, court hearings take place to decide on the best interests of the juvenile or children. When the court makes these decisions they will apply the factors found in section 20-124.3 in the Code of Virginia. These include:
- The child’s age, mental and physical condition.
- The current relationship between the child and each parent.
- The needs of the child including emotional needs.
- Each parents age, mental and physical condition.
- The role each parent has had so far in the upbringing of the child or children.
- Each parents desire to create or improve the relationship between the child and the other parent.
- Benefits of keeping the child or children with the main caretaker.
In the state, if Virginia, the court often regards relocation as minor if the caretaker shows no interest in the welfare of the minor or if the minor shows a close, binding relationship with the caretaker. When relocation is granted the court typically gives the other parentless frequent but longer visitation periods. The court also discreetly mentions that the caretaker relocating is responsible for making travel arrangements. For instance, in Virginia, the court may allow a party to relocate with the children but require that caretaker to pay for travel expenses such as airfare.
There may be penalties for caretakers who fail to give the court proper notice of any intention to relocate. It may be considered a class six felony under Virginian state law as moving out of state with a minor juvenile may be considered as a violation of the existing minor guardianship and visitation agreements.
If you need a Virginia Child Custody lawyer to help you with your minor guardianship case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child Custody attorneys can help you. C