Child custody attorneys working at divorce law firms in Yorktown, Poquoson and other locations in Virginia must counsel their clients about how to prepare for a child custody case. Too many parents believe that the battle over custody can be won by simply walking into court and telling their story to a judge. It does not work that way.
Decisions made by judges to resolve custody disputes must be based upon evidence allowing a judge to determine the type of custody arrangement consistent with the best interests of the child.
Parents who want a judge to award them custody of their children need to work with their child custody lawyers to gather evidence and decide upon a strategy for presenting it in the most persuasive way. It takes preparation by both the child custody lawyer and the parent to achieve a favorable result. Custody cases differ in the issues raised and the strategies developed by the attorneys, but there are a few things that parents can do to increase their chances of success.
Learn About the Virginia Child Custody Laws
When it comes to deciding upon child custody, the wishes of the parents take second place to the best interests of their child. Virginia child custody laws suggest factors for judges to take into consideration to determine the custody arrange that meets a child’s best interests, including:
- Physical and mental condition and age of the child with consideration given to the developmental needs of the child.
- Physical and mental condition and age of each parent.
- Relationship as it currently exists between the child and each parent.
- Needs of a child with due consideration given to a child’s relationship with friends, siblings and other relatives.
- Role played by each parent in raising the child.
- Ability demonstrated parents to resolve disputes and disagreements pertaining to their child.
- Preferences of the child regarding custody arrangements.
- History, if any, of sexual or family abuse.
The law encourages judges to take into consideration evidence pertaining to other factors they believe be relevant and helpful in reaching a decision consistent with the best interests of the child.
It also helps for parents to understand the child custody options judges have in Circuit Courts or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts in Williamsburg, Newport News and other locations throughout the Hampton Roads region. Judges may award physical custody or legal custody.