Debunking Myths of Why You Don’t Need a Northern Virginia Child Custody Attorney
You may have heard many things about child custody trials, but some might not be true. Before you jump to conclusions or make assumptions for how your child custody hearing will go, consider hiring a northern Virginia child custody attorney to help ensure your case is handled well.
Here are seven of the most common myths you might have heard about child custody hearings. Be sure to discuss all your concerns and case details with your attorney to ensure the best possible outcome of your case.
1. Moms are more likely to get custody
Custody is determined by the best interests of the child. Some believe that mothers automatically receive custody of a child – especially when they are young – but that’s not the case.
The court system will look to make as few alterations to the child’s previous life as possible. This includes ensuring children stay in the same schools, if possible.
It will also ask the parents questions about their financial position to see who can best care for the child. It will go into routines, mental health status and living situation to determine the most suitable parent to retain custody.
2. Once children are older, it’s likely they’ll choose which parent to live with
The court system oversees the wellbeing and custody of children until they reach age 18. This means that children can not necessarily pick which parent to reside with, though the court may give the children an opportunity to voice their preferences.
For the court to ask a child his or her preference for which parent to live with, they must have reached an age of maturity. This ensures that a parent is not placing ideas in young children’s heads about who to choose. It also ensures that the child understands better what a stable home and environment look like.
Defining the age of maturity when a child can voice which parent to live with can be complicated. The court may interview your child to learn their state of mind and maturity. Keep in mind however that a child’s preference is only one factor in determining custody.
3. A parent not paying child support doesn’t have visitation rights
Child support and visitation are independent variables in the eyes of the court. One does not dictate the other.
A parent can lose visitation rights, but not paying child support is not a reason that a parent might lose those rights. Likewise, just because a parent pays child support does not mean they get visitation rights automatically. However, this is something you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer as a point in your argument for child custody as it could strengthen your case.
4. No parent with a history of mental health issues or abuse will receive custody rights
The court system recognizes that having a relationship with both parents can be greatly beneficial to a child. When mental health or abuse issues are present, the court might rule that visitation must be supervised.
You should be aware that it can be difficult to get a court to rule that a parent should have no visitation rights at all. Again, this is something you’ll want to discuss in detail with your attorney to ensure that your child custody hearing is detailed and goes into your concerns of your ex spouse’s mental or physical health.
5. You can call the police against an ex that doesn’t follow custody properly
Generally speaking, the police will only intervene in the case that a parent is committing a crime. This includes kidnapping. Taking your ex to court over violated custody agreements can be tricky as you must have proof and not just allegations.
When the court makes a ruling on your child custody, it expects the parents to work together to make the custody agreement work. The court expects open communication between parents, such as when a parent plans to pick up and drop off the child.
6. You and the child’s other parent can renegotiate custody without legal assistance
Your child custody agreement is a legal document that will be upheld in the court system. If you and your ex choose to make changes to it, you will need to appear in court to make updates. Keep this in mind as you work with your child custody attorney to create an agreement that will grow and change with your child.
7. A parent whose ex has no custody rights can freely move the child to a new area without notifying the ex
Before moving, you must file a notice of intent with the court system. This regardless of whether or not your ex has visitation or custody rights. The court will then notify your ex of your intent to move. There may be some exceptions to this, such as in the case of an abusive parent.
Understanding child custody rights and procedures on your own can be difficult. Be sure to work with an experienced and talented Northern Virginia child custody attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Learn more about Gore and Kuperman and set up a free consultation by contacting 703-385-7300.
This blog post is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be used as such. Specific case facts should be discussed with an attorney.