Virginia will have jurisdiction to determine custody of your children if no other state has ruled on the issue of custody and the children have been in Virginia continuously for greater than 6 months. If you live in Virginia and have experienced a breakup that involves minor children, it is vital that you know about child custody laws in Virginia. It is not uncommon for one or both partners to get remarried, move or have financial difficulties, all of these life changes could necessitate a change in custody.
When two people separate or divorce and if transporting children back and forth is involved, the distance between their homes can become a number one concern. This is especially true in such on-the-move areas like Northern Virginia, which makes child custody relocation battles among the most frequently litigated court cases.
The frequent question asked to our attorneys who handle custody cases in Virginia is, “can I move out of Virginia with my child?” The open answer is “maybe.”
Virginia law does not provide a standard rule for custody relocation cases, meaning one cannot merely turn to the Virginia Code for a simple “yes” or “no” on relocation in a given case. Instead, courts in relocation cases will apply this more subjective test, whether the best interests of the child will be served by modifying an existing custody order to allow relocation.
Virginia child custody laws allow for joint custody and grandparent visitation rights, while the court process gives significant weight to the child’s own wishes before determining custody. The judge then reviews that agreement and, in most situations, will turn it into a formal court order. More complex Virginia custody challenges involve the legal determination of a biological parent and requests for emergency hearings to remove a child from a custodial parent or revoke parent visitation rights when abuse or violence threatens the child.
If you are the parent who wishes to relocate out of Virginia or the parent who seeks to prevent your child’s relocation from Virginia, remember that there are never any guarantees as to what the court will decide. If you are the noncustodial parent, it will be important to present as much evidence as possible of your positive relationship with your child and steady involvement in the child’s life.
The following are the primary reasons the Virginia child custody courts have mentioned when allowing relocation:
- Benefits to the child if a lower cost-of-living area increases resources of the relocating parent
- Child’s familiarity with the new community including previous visits, friends or relatives
- Benefit of keeping a child with the main caretaker
- Ability of the relocating parent to shift from working full time to staying at home and becoming more available to the child
- Failing finances that would ultimately force the relocating parent into constant moves
- Ability of the other parent to maintain long-distance visits because of job flexibility and financial resources
- Inability of the other parent to provide stability
- Anxiety of a child due to weak on or off schedule.
If the non-custodial parent has little or no association with the minor, then this too will become a substantial factor of consideration for the Virginia child custody court when determining whether to grant permission for the custodial parent to relocate to another jurisdiction.
If you need the help of a lawyer who understands the child custody laws in Virginia and relocation laws as it relates to moving out of state in Fairfax, City of Fairfax, Prince William (Manassas), Fauquier (Warrenton), Loudoun (Leesburg), Caroline, Stafford, Spotsylvania (Fredericksburg), Chesterfield, Henrico, Arlington, Richmond, Alexandria, call our law firm immediately for help and speak to a lawyer about your options.
The SRIS Law Group can help you best possible outcome based on the facts of your case. If you wish to consult an SRIS Law Group, P.C. attorney who knows the child custody laws in Virginia and the relocations laws as it relates to moving out of state, call us at 855-696-3348. B