Portsmouth Child Custody Attorneys
Norfolk & Suffolk County Child Custody Representation
An experienced Portsmouth VA child custody attorney can be your best advocate in asserting your right to quality time with your children.
At Kozak, Davis & Renninger we focus on the best interests of children in custody and visitation matters. We are also dedicated to our clients who want to continue to be active in their children's lives in our city.
Do not make your child an unfortunate casualty of your divorce. Our child custody lawyer in Portsmouth, VA can help resolve your situation in mediation or protect your rights and their best interests in court.
Types of Child Custody
The state of Virginia has three different types of child custody:
- Sole custody: This is when one parent is granted full custody of the child. This "custodial parent" will have full say over the child's education, healthcare, and religion. The child will also live with this parent.
- Joint legal custody: With this arrangement, both parents share the responsibility to make decisions about the child's education, healthcare, religion, and the like.
- Joint physical custody: Here, the child splits their time living with each parent. Parents usually trade holidays or school breaks, as well.
Can You Modify a Custody Order in Virginia?
Yes, it is possible to change a child custody arrangement.
Although the courts may have issued a child custody order, that does not mean the matter is set in stone forever. Until the child becomes an adult, a custody order can be modified if a party experiences a significant change in circumstance.
Common reasons for modification of custody in VA include:
- Relocation of the custodial parent
- A change in the non-custodial parent's circumstances allows them to request more custody
- Changes in the custodial parent's living situation that affects the child's welfare, such as substance abuse or domestic violence
To modify a custody agreement, you must file a motion with the court. You will need to provide evidence that your circumstances have changed and that the changes have a direct impact on the child's life.
How Is Child Custody Determined in VA?
The Virginia court system will always seek an arrangement considered to be in the child’s best interests. There is no preferential treatment given to either the mother or the father.
Some of the factors that constitute the child’s best interests:
- Each parent’s role in raising the child
- The child’s current age and living situation
- The child’s educational and medical needs
- How each parent plans to financially support the child
- How each parent will resolve any disputes that arise
- If there is a history of abuse or violence
- If any parent has had problems with drugs or alcohol
The VA courts will also consider the child’s preferences. If the child can reasonably express their wishes, they can provide more detail on the nature of the relationship with each parent and their needs in particular.
How to Prove a Parent Unfit
In the event of fighting for custody of a child, there are circumstances where the court will evaluate whether a parent is “fit” for joint or sole custody. Most VA judges will attempt to reach a joint custody agreement, as that is usually in the best interests of the child(ren); however, their safety is the most important priority. A parent that is ruled unfit may be limited to visitation, sometimes supervised.
Here are several factors that a judge may examine when evaluating a parent to be unfit in VA:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- The parent’s reluctancy to be part of the child’s life
- A history of child abuse or neglect
- A mental illness that inhibits the parent from carrying out their role as guardian/provider
- Are age-appropriate limits set in place?
Remember, the accusation of another parent being unfit is a serious claim. It is in your best interests to consult with our child custody lawyers before proceeding.
Are Parenting Classes Required for Child Custody?
In the state of Virginia, mediation and parenting classes are required when determining child custody and visitation rights.
As the state’s objective, we also believe that children should be shielded from a potentially bitter battle between the parents. Children should never be used as pawns to manipulate child custody agreements or child support payments. At our firm, the children’s best interests remain paramount.
Helping Clients with In-State & Interstate Custody & Visitation
At Kozak, Davis & Renninger our Portsmouth VA child custody lawyers help clients in various custody matters both interstate and within the boundaries of the Commonwealth.
From sole physical custody to joint legal custody, we aggressively advocate for our clients. In some cases, our Portsmouth child custody lawyers serve as a Guardian Ad Litem for children and assert their rights when parents cannot come to an agreement.
Seek the Help of a Skilled Portsmouth Child Custody Lawyer
Our Portsmouth child custody attorneys understand how frightening a custody battle is for any parent. As a client of our firm, you can be sure that we will work zealously to protect your parental rights, as well as your child’s best interests.
Whether your case can be resolved through mediation or litigation, our experienced Portsmouth child custody attorneys are with you every step of the way.
Call Kozak, Davis & Renninger today at (757) 364-0923 to schedule an appointment.