Generally, in the state of Virginia, a noncustodial parent (a parent that does not have custody of the child) will have a right to visitation with the minor, even if the parents never got married. Sometimes, this right has to be approved by the court. What most parents don’t know is that there is a difference between custody and visitation. Both the father and mother have a right to seek custody of their children, however, there are two types of custody. The responsibility and right of deciding on behalf of the child is known as legal custody. Residing with the child is called physical custody. Both types of custody can be given to one parent (sole legal or physical custody). It could also be joint when both parents have physical or legal custody of the child. If there is a situation of sole physical custody, visitation may play a role. It may be awarded by the court to the noncustodial parent, only if it is in the child’s best interest.
Parents must submit to the court an agreement and a visitation schedule that suits both parents. However, the judge will hear the evidence presented by both parents about why his or her schedule is in the best interest of the minor if an agreement is not reached. If any issues such as abuse, or child abuse will prevent the court from ordering visitation. A specific schedule can be given by the court in Virginia and can also request supervision during the visitation if the child’s emotional or physical safety is at risk. The parent associated with the supervision during the visitation of the child will cover the costs of the supervision, however, it is rare that supervised visits stay permanent. The supervised visits can either take place at a facility or at the supervisor’s house. Virginia courts motivate the parents to keep in touch and visit the children, however, all visitation decisions will be made according to the child’s best interests, not the parent’s desires.
There are some factors that the courts in the state of Virginia consider before awarding visitation and a schedule in the child’s best interest.
These factors include:
- The age of the child;
- The developmental needs of the child;
- The ability of the parents to provide a safe and healthy environment for the minor;
- The willingness of cooperation of the parents (with the court and each other);
- Schedule of the parents (for example work);
- Child’s schedule (school or extracurricular activities); and
- Ability to provide continuous contact between the child and each parent.
A visitation schedule determining which parent will receive weekend, holiday and summer visitation will be set by the court in Virginia. A visitation schedule will end when the child reaches 18 years of age, and then the child chooses whether to stay in touch or not with the parent. The custody order will also determine the location as of where the visitation must take place. It will also assign the parents a share of the costs of transportation and it will address child support.
If you need a Virginia Child Visitation Lawyer to help you with your Child Visitation case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child Visitation Attorneys can help you.