Child Custody & Visitation

Fredericksburg Child Custody Attorney

Committed to Your Child’s Best Interests

Fredericksburg Child Custody Attorney

Committed to Your Child’s Best Interests

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of a divorce is making certain that your children continue to lead happy, safe, and healthy lives despite the difficult change in their parents’ relationship. 

But while both parents may mutually agree to make decisions based on the best interests of their children, each often has a different concept of what the child custody and visitation agreement should be. 

Even years after a divorce, changing or amending custody agreements, visitation rights, and support obligations can be complex, overwhelming, and emotionally trying events for everyone involved.

At Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC, we are dedicated to helping clients protect their children in the wake of a divorce or marital separation. 

Whether we are able to come to a mutual agreement between two parents or whether we need to fight for a just resolution in court, our team of experienced family law attorneys is determined to preserve and protect your rights and your relationship with your children.

Schedule a consultation with our child custody lawyers in Fredericksburg by calling us at (540) 306-5780 or filling out our online contact form today.

What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Virginia?

Virginia law does not specify an age at which a child can choose which parent to live with. Instead, if the parents cannot agree, the court makes the final decision. 

The court will consider the child's reasonable preference if the child is deemed of appropriate age, brilliance, understanding, and knowledge to express such a preference. 

Generally, a child twelve or older may be considered mature enough to give an opinion the judge should consider. 

Joint vs. Sole Custody: Understanding Your Options

When it comes to child custody cases, there are two main types: joint custody and sole custody. It is important to understand the difference between the two and how they may impact your family dynamic.

Joint custody involves both parents sharing the legal and physical custody of the child. This means both parents have a say in major decisions regarding the child's upbringing and the child spends time living with each parent.

Sole custody, on the other hand, gives one parent full legal and physical custody of the child. The other parent may still have visitation rights, but the custodial parent has the final say in all decisions regarding the child's upbringing.

Our Stafford family law attorneys at Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC can help you navigate the complexities of child custody and determine the best course of action for your family. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

 

Helping You Make Informed Decisions About Your Family

When thinking about child custody and visitation rights, many parents have a number of concerns:

  • Who will have the right to make decisions about my child’s health, education, religion, and emotional development?
  • Will my spouse be able to move away or relocate with my children?
  • Who will have financial obligations to help support my children?
  • Will my children live with me, with my spouse, or both?
  • What will my visitation rights be?
  • Can I change or amend my current custody rights or visitation rights?
  • Will my spouse’s misconduct or my misconduct affect my child custody case?
  • Will my children’s preferences be considered during my custody battle?
  • Ultimately, how does a judge decide the best interests of my children?

Our Virginia family law practice understands that just as every family is unique, every child custody agreement will be equally unique. Our first job at Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC is to listen to your concerns and to fully comprehend both your current custody situation and your ideal custody situation. 

After we understand your needs, we will help you identify all of your possible legal options and how we can successfully achieve your goals.

We believe that it is not an attorney’s job to tell clients what to do – we understand that you know your family best and that only you can make final decisions regarding your case. 

However, we will provide you with the legal information, trial and negotiation experience, and advice that you need to make informed and reasonable decisions.

Creating a Parenting Plan for Child Custody

One of the most important aspects of child custody arrangements is creating a parenting plan that outlines the details of how parents will share custody and make decisions for their children. At Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC, we understand that every family's situation is unique, and we can help you create a customized parenting plan that works best for your specific needs.

Your parenting plan may include:

  • A schedule for when each parent will have physical custody of the child
  • A plan for how holidays, vacations, and special occasions will be handled
  • A system for communication and decision-making between parents
  • Guidelines for how the child's education, healthcare, and other needs will be addressed

Our experienced family law attorneys can help you negotiate and draft a comprehensive parenting plan that is fair and in the best interest of your children. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your child custody case.

We’ll Help You Sort Out the Chaos

While it is usually better to resolve a custody disagreement without litigation, an amicable solution is not always possible and you may need to fight for your custody and visitation rights. 

Especially if your former spouse has also sought the advice of a family law attorney, it is important to level the playing field and ensure that you have an experienced and knowledgeable Fredericksburg child custody attorney on your side.

If you live in Stafford County or the surrounding Virginia area and have questions about a child custody, visitation, or relocation case, contact us for help. We want to work for you. 

Commonly Asked Questions

How does Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC approach child custody and visitation cases in Fredericksburg?

At Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC, our approach to child custody and visitation cases is centered around the child's best interests. We understand the complexities and emotional challenges that come with divorce and marital separation. Our team works diligently to help clients reach a mutual agreement when possible, but we are also prepared to advocate for a fair resolution in court to protect your rights and maintain your relationship with your children.

Can Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC assist with modifying existing child custody agreements in Fredericksburg?

Yes, Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC can assist with modifying existing child custody agreements in Fredericksburg. We understand that circumstances change over time, and what was once a suitable arrangement may no longer serve the child's best interests. Our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the process of amending custody agreements, visitation rights, and support obligations to reflect current needs.

What are the benefits of choosing joint custody in Fredericksburg?

Choosing joint custody in Fredericksburg offers several benefits, including allowing both parents to actively participate in major decisions regarding their child's upbringing and ensuring the child maintains a strong relationship with both parents. Joint custody arrangements can provide a more balanced family dynamic and support the child's emotional well-being by fostering a sense of stability and continuity in their living situation.

Call us at (540) 306-5780 or fill out the online contact form on this page to order a free family law eBook that can help you understand your case.

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They made going through a divorce as pleasant as can be... they kept me laughing when I felt like crying.

- L.F.
  • What kinds of things does the court consider in making a custody determination?

    The courts are required to consider a number of factors under the statute, which is Section 20-124.3 of the Code. The age and health of the child, the age and health of each parent, the relationship existing between each parent and each child, and the role that each parent has played in the upbringing of the child are just some examples of the factors.

    In any custody case it is vitally important for the attorney to review with you the statutory factors and to discuss the facts of your case as they apply to the statute.

  • I want to move out of state with the children. Do I need the court's permission?
    Yes. Even if you have a custody order that grants you legal and/or physical custody, an out-of-state change of residence is something you typically would need to seek leave of court to do.
  • My child is 16 years old and wants to live with me. At what age can a child make the custody decision?

    Until the child reaches the age of majority, he or she does not make the custody decision. This is the Court’s responsibility if the parents are unable to reach an agreed order. The Court is not bound by the child’s preference, but is required to give due consideration to the child’s reasonable preference if the child is of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference.

  • Do grandparents have the right to visit with their grandchildren?

    The Court can award visitation rights to grandparents. However, if neither of the child’s parents agree for the grandparents to have visitation, a much more stringent, “actual harm” test is applied by the Court. That is, the grandparent would have to show that the child would suffer actual harm as a result of not having visitation with the grandparent, as opposed to simply showing that visitation would be in the child’s “best interest.”

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