Archive for the ‘Custody’ Category

Can my child’s mother move to another state and take my children?

Friday, August 18th, 2017

By: Kristina Beavers

There are two parts to this question.  The answer to the first part is ‘yes’, your child’s mother (or father) can move to another state.  An adult in the United States is free to move anywhere in the country.

A Relocation Case

This is called a ‘relocation’ case in the child custody world and the mother may not be allowed to take the child with her.  In Virginia, there are special criteria to allow a parent to move a child away from the other parent.  A move that would be a benefit to the mother is not always the best thing for the child and the child’s relationship to the other parent.  This is really part of the ‘best interest of the child’ standard.  The courts feel that being allowed access to both parents is usually in the best interest of the child.  But there are additional items that need to be addressed in a relocation case, such as an independent benefit to the child from allowing the move and the history and frequency of contact with the non-custodial parent.  The courts will also look at the child’s contact with local extended family and friends.

I often tell parents that a ‘normal’ custody/visitation case in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) is about the only time I might recommend handling a case without an attorney.  However, because of the details that are necessary to prove in a relocation case, I almost always recommend the assistance of an attorney.  It is just too important to leave to chance.

Contact us for more information

If you have questions about this, please contact the office of Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.  You can also visit us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com.

How to get temporary custody of my grandchildren to register them for school

Friday, July 28th, 2017

School Registration

About this time of year, I get a lot of phone calls from grandparents who want to get temporary custody of their grandchildren so the child can be registered for the coming school year.

Often, the grandparent tells me that the parent has agreed to a temporary arrangement where the child will live with the grandparent for now, but be returned to the parent when (fill in the blank with the condition that the parent wants).  Often, this agreement is in writing and sometimes notarized.

However, these agreements are not considered a legal transfer of custody. Some school districts will not allow a child to be registered in school without legal custody.

First, check with your local school district to find out what is required to get the child registered.  Often, a school will allow a child to be registered if there is a pending petition for custody.

Temporary Custody

The courts do not generally order a temporary change in custody unless it is considered just a step toward a permanent order of custody.  A temporary change in custody can be requested when the parties go to court for their initial meeting with the court staff.  This temporary change is only in effect until the court has the ability to hear the entire case and make a permanent decision.

Often, a parent will be hesitant to agree to a permanent change in custody, but the parent should be aware that the custody decision is really only permanent until it is changed by another permanent order from a court.  A permanent change in custody might be modified if there has been a ‘material change in circumstances’.   This material change could possibly be the same condition the parent noted previously.

If you have questions about this, please contact the office of Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.  You can also visit us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com.

Do Dads ever get custody?

Friday, January 15th, 2016

The short answer is ‘yes’, Dads often get legal and/or physical custody of their children!

In Virginia, the courts use what is called a ‘best interest of the child’ standard when deciding child custody matters.  The factors are found in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3 and these are the things that any Judge, either in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR) District Court or the Circuit Court must consider before making a child custody decision.

If the child is very young, and the mother is breast feeding the child, that would make it much more difficult for a father to get custody at that time, but other than that, there is no presumption that a mother is the preferred parent.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

When can I file for custody of my baby?

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

I’ve had two different people come  into my office in the past month who want to establish custody for their unborn children.  The problem is that custody cannot be established until the child is born and becomes an independent person.

You can do a lot to get ready.  You will need the name, physical and mailing address, and phone number of the other parent so that they can be properly and legally served with any custody papers after the birth of your child.

In most jurisdictions in Virginia, the initial custody determination filing requires a small filing fee (I think it was $25 the last time I checked locally).  Also, check with your Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Clerk’s office.  In some areas, the petition is filed in the clerk’s office and in other areas the initial petition is prepared in a Court Services office.  Some of the Court Services offices are in the courthouse and sometimes they are in a different building.

The timeframe for the initial appearance in court will depend on the jurisdiction and the court calendar, but count on it being at least a month before the initial hearing.  Then, if mom and dad are in agreement about custody, the court can usually enter an order that day.  If the matter is contested, you will be scheduled for a contested hearing and that may be 1-3 months out depending again on the court’s calendar.

Until the child is born, the most important thing you can do is to take good care of yourself and make sure that the child has every opportunity to be born safe and healthy.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Terminating Parental Rights

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

I’ve had  a few people contact me recently because they either want to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, or they want to terminate the parental rights of an absent father.  Trust me, I’m not picking on fathers but I’ve had the same question 3 times in the past 2 weeks and they all just happened to concern absent fathers.

First of all, the Courts in Virginia will not let anyone voluntarily relinquish parental rights.  If both parents agree that the father won’t be involved in the child’s life, and the mother is able to properly provide for the child, there is no reason to have the court involvement at all.  Just do it.  Most people agree that it is better for a child to have both parents involved in their life, but it is still a personal decision.

However, if the parents think that they can get rid of a father who can not afford to pay child support and then apply for TANF to support the child, that won’t happen.  And while the Courts themselves can terminate parental rights when a parent has been proven to be unfit, you can’t request that the Courts do so just because a parent has not been involved in the child’s life, and/or is unable to provide financial support.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.