Virginia Child Custody and Visitation Laws

When two parents separate or divorce, the residence of the child is fixed by mutual agreement or by court order of the family court. There are mainly three types of child residence fixation as per Virginia child custody and visitation laws:

  • Classic: every second weekend and half of the school holidays;
  • Alternate: usually alternately one week / one week or three bears / four days;
  • Reduced: for example, one weekend a month.

The right of access and lodging is a right granted to the parent who benefits from it and not a duty which falls to him, consequently, it is not possible to force the parent to exercise this right.

However, the parent who has effective custody of the child can make arrangements. The latter may request a review of the procedures for determining the right of access and accommodation before the family court judge of the child’s place of residence and, above all, ask for the revision of the pension to be increased.

According to Virginia child custody and visitation laws, to request a review of the judgment, it is essential to provide evidence that supports the facts. This evidence is admissible before the judge who will have a concrete vision of the situation and the need to proceed with the review.

It is important to draw attention to the fact that the custodial parents cannot unilaterally decide to prohibit the access of the other parent from recovering the child when they decide to exercise their right on the ground that they do not respect it, they would be guilty of non-representation of their child.

In the same way that it is not possible to ask the judge, the total suppression of the right of visit and lodging on the grounds that it is not respected. As per Virginia child custody and visitation laws, this suppression is granted only for serious reasons: endangering the life of the child, violence or lifestyle jeopardizing the physical and/or mental security of the child.

In principle, the child can express his/her wish freely to each of his parents, but they are reciprocally obliged to respect the parental authority of each other and to respect the fixation of the residence and the child as well as the access and accommodation established.

It is clear that parental authority is normally exercised in the same way as the child is three years old or seventeen years old. However, the jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation has changed this principle and recognizes that in practice, it is difficult to enforce this right of access to an adolescent child.

If the child, in discernment does not really want the right of access to be established, he/she always has the possibility to be heard by a judge (there is no age fixed, and this is left to the discretion of the judge).

If you are going through divorce process that also involves your children, then it is imperative to retain a well-versed Virginia family lawyer to get the best possible decision.