Your choice of attorney to represent your interests during a child custody and visitation dispute could mean the difference between successful negotiations or expensive, ongoing litigation. Please contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney who can provide a clear explanation of your legal rights and options.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody and Visitation
Q: What is the difference between legal and physical custody?
A: Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who has responsibilities associated with daily childcare. Legal custody is the decision-making responsibilities associated with the education, healthcare and religious upbringing of a child.
Q: When parents fight over custody, how does the court decide?
A: The typical standard is the best interests of the child. Each state has specific guidelines, but the court usually takes into consideration what each parent wants, what the child wants (if the child is old enough and/or mature enough), which parent has been the primary caretaker, the parenting abilities of each parent and whether there is a history of abuse.
Child Custody and Visitation - An Overview
The resolution of child custody and visitation disputes requires divorcing parents to act rationally in their child's best interests at a time when they are facing the overwhelming stress of divorce. Joint custody and sole custody, legal custody and physical custody, custody evaluations and modifications are terms with which a divorcing parent will become familiar. Knowledgeable advice and skilled representation from an experienced family law attorney at Christian Curtis, LLC in Alexandria, VA, can assist you in your pursuit of a fair custody arrangement.
Creating Parenting Plans that Work
A parenting plan is an agreement that outlines a child custody arrangement. It takes into account arrangements such as who has the children on which days, who makes major decisions about matters such as the children's education and health, and what to do if any parent's situation significantly changes. Parents who agree on a parenting plan rather than let the court decide are often more likely to comply with custody arrangements.
The ongoing health and mental well-being of children during divorce often depends upon how their parents interact following the decision to end the marriage. An experienced family law attorney can inform, guide and support you throughout the divorce and custody process.
Custody and Visitation Do's and Don'ts
One thing divorce does not change is your being a parent. Whether you develop a traditional visitation schedule or a flexible co-parenting plan, whether the arrangement is temporary or permanent, you can help make the time you spend with your children happy and productive. When questions regarding custody and visitation arise, an experienced family law attorney is the ideal source for competent counsel.
Custody Evaluations: What You Should Know
If you and your former spouse have been unable to reach an agreement regarding child custody, the family court judge deciding your case may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health professional, usually a psychologist, evaluates you, your children and your children's other parent in order to make a custody and visitation recommendation to the court. Courts tend to give considerable weight to the recommendations of the evaluator. A family law attorney can explain custody evaluations and answer your child custody questions.
Child Custody and Visitation Resource Links
Family Law in the 50 States
The American Bar Association publishes charts summarizing the basic laws in each state. Chart 2 summarizes the current custody criteria for all 50 states.
U.S. State Department: International Parental Child Abduction
This website is a U.S. Department of State guide for people whose children have been abducted by a parent and taken across an international border.
Children's Rights Council
The CRC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the idea that both parents should be involved in their children's lives; the CRC provides free drop-off/pick-up centers for custody transfers.
Office of Child Support and Enforcement
The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families helps to locate parents and enforce child support obligations.
Child Custody: An Overview
Child custody overview and resources provided by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at the Cornell Law School.