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Child Custody & Visitation
Fredericksburg Child Custody Attorney
See What Our Firm Can Do for You & Your Family
Determining which parent should receive physical custody of the children is one of the most hard-fought and emotional aspects of any court proceeding. Our Fredericksburg child custody attorney understands this and provides compassionate and supportive guidance to clients throughout the divorce process.
Attorney A. Lewis Lowery, Jr. is committed to delivering personalized and responsive service. Whether you need an in-person office visit or have questions or concerns that you want addressed on nights and weekends, we are available to assist you.
What is Child Custody?
Custody refers to the responsibility for making decisions regarding the upbringing of a child, and it may be awarded to either parent or shared by both parents. The person who has custody of the child makes the decisions regarding the child's education, health care, and upbringing. Attorney Lewis Lowery is a highly experienced child custody lawyer in Fredericksburg who can fight for your rights and the rights of your child.
Who Gets Custody of the Kids?
Whether clients are attempting to negotiate child custody rights through a property settlement agreement or allowing the court to make the determination, it is important to understand the various types of custody.
- Sole legal custody refers to the right of one parent to exclusively make all decisions about the general welfare of the child.
- Joint legal custody refers to the right of both parents to make decisions regarding the general welfare of the child.
- Sole physical custody refers to the exclusive right of a parent to have the child live with him or her.
- Joint physical custody is when the child splits his time between both parents’ homes on a more permanent basis than mere visitation.
The best approach is for the parties to attempt to work out a property settlement agreement that addresses the issue of child custody. Hiring an attorney with experience in these kinds of negotiations can go a long way toward ensuring that the child’s best interests are met and both parents are satisfied with the arrangements.
If the parties cannot agree on a child custody and a visitation plan, the court will make the determination on its own. This is not an ideal situation since a judge – an uninvolved third party – has the power to make important decisions. As with most family law matters involving children, the judge is guided by what is in their best interest.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Virginia?
When parents cannot agree on an arrangement, the court will make the decision. In making its decision, the court will look at the best interests of the child when determining the custody arrangement. In Virginia, the court gives significant weight to the parents' agreement regarding the custody and visitation of their children. However, the court will not simply rubber-stamp the parents' decision, but will make its own decision based on the child's best interests.
In determining the child's best interests, the court will look at the following factors:
- the child's relationships with parents, siblings, and other significant persons;
- the child's age and health;
- the child's attachment to parents;
- the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age to express a preference;
- the parents' wishes;
- the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
- whether a parent has abused the child or a member of the child's household;
- whether a parent is or will be absent due to military service;
- the child's needs for a stable home;
- whether a parent is or will be absent due to employment;
- the child's developmental stage;
- the child's mental and physical health;
- the child's need for a parental figure;
- the child's cultural and social needs;
- whether the child's safety would be endangered;
- the child's relationship with each parent;
- the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
- the child's developmental needs;
- the child's age;
- the child's wishes if the child is of sufficient age to express a preference;
- any other factor that is relevant to the child's best interest.
Child custody matters can be highly contentious and emotionally charged, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights and the best interests of your child. At A. Lewis Lowery, Jr., Attorney at Law, PLC, we are here to help you.
Can Child Custody in Virginia Be Modified?
In Virginia, child custody orders are not permanent. The court can modify the order based on a substantial change of circumstances, such as a change in the child's or a parent's circumstances, or a change in the child's best interests.
We Have the Experience to Help You
Retaining an experienced Fredericksburg child custody lawyer who is knowledgeable about the factors a judge must consider is critical when the parties cannot agree. Our firm has the litigation and mediation experience necessary to protect and advocate for clients’ parental interests and ensure that the appropriate amount of child support is granted to the custodial parent.
“I recommend him without hesitation!” - T.M.
“His compassion and experience were just as important as his legal expertise to achieve the best possible outcome.” - Amy C.
At A. Lewis Lowery, Jr., Attorney at Law, PLC, you can find the knowledgeable, aggressive, and responsive representation that you need and deserve. Attorney Lewis Lowery is a former prosecutor who has also worked at Stafford County’s largest family law firm. He offers invaluable insights for your divorce or other family law case. As a proven litigator, he is not afraid to battle for your rights in the courtroom. But whether your case goes to trial or not, you can count on benefiting from one-on-one service from Mr. Lowery, who will personally answer your calls and emails, ensuring that you know where your case stands and what to expect ahead.