Leesburg Child Custody Attorney
When children are in the picture, issues of child custody and visitation often take center stage in the divorce. Who will care for the children and make decisions about their future, and how these responsibilities may be shared, are often the most important, emotional and conflict-laden issues in a divorce. The Leesburg child custody attorneys at Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, in Leesburg help parents work out a solution to these complex and thorny issues in a Virginia divorce or any child custody dispute whether or not the parents are divorcing or were never married at all. Learn more about child custody in Virginia below and contact Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, for help with a child custody dispute in Fairfax or Loudoun County.
What are the different types of child custody in Virginia?
Virginia law differentiates between legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions concerning the child, such as where the child goes to school, how the child is brought up religiously, what extracurricular activities the child engages in, what medical care the child receives, etc. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the actual custodial care of the child.
The judge is initially charged with assuring frequent and continuing contact with both parents when appropriate and encouraging parents to share in the responsibilities of child-rearing. However, the best interests of the child are the dominant factors to consider, which means the court can award joint custody or sole custody regarding legal custody, physical custody, or both. In other words, even if the child has a primary residence with one parent, the court can still order the parents to exercise legal custody jointly, or place legal custody solely with the other parent, or make any other arrangement in the child’s best interests.
How does the court determine the best interests of the child for custody?
The guiding factor for the court in making any custody decision is to do what is in the best interests of the child. There may be an endless number of different arguments the parents can make about their child’s best interests, but at a minimum, the court has to consider all of the following:
- The needs of the child, including relationships with siblings, peers and extended family
- The age and health of the parents
- The age and health of the child
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The extent of the parenting role performed by each parent
- How much each parent will encourage a meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent
- The reasonable preference of the child regarding custody, depending on the age and emotional development of the child
- Any history of sexual abuse or family abuse by either parent
How can Schwartz Kalina help with a child custody dispute?
The best child custody arrangement is typically one the parents work out together. Our attorneys always try to work out settlements in our clients’ best interests, and our lawyers include a certified Virginia Supreme Court family law mediator with decades of experience helping parents come together on vital custody issues. We can assist you and your co-parent in creating a detailed custody and visitation schedule and parenting plan that is more likely to be practical and feasible for the whole family and more likely to be voluntarily implemented, without the need to constantly go back to court for modification or enforcement of custody orders.
If it’s not possible to work out an agreement, you can count on our experienced family law litigators to present a strong case in court based on the factors described above and backed by evidence that proves your position in the custody dispute. We’ll work hard for a result that reflects your interests and those of your children for a positive outcome in your divorce or child custody matter.
Get the Right Kind of Help in Your Leesburg Child Custody Case
For help with child custody in Fairfax or Loudoun County, contact Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, in Leesburg at 703-667-0954 for a free, initial phone consultation with an experienced, passionate and dedicated Loudoun County child custody attorney.