Posts Tagged ‘Child Custody’

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

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

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

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

What are the types of child custody in Virginia?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

There are two types of child custody in Virginia.  Legal custody and Physical custody.

Legal Custody

A person who is granted legal custody of a child has the responsibility for the care and control of the child and the authority to make major decisions concerning the child.  These responsibilities and decisions can include decisions about medical care, religious involvement and educational placements.

Often, the courts will rule that the parents of a child shall have joint legal custody of a child which means that the parents need to work together to make these major decisions regarding the child.

If the parents cannot work together for the benefit of the child, the courts can award legal custody to only one parent.

Physical Custody

A person who is granted physical custody of a child has the responsibility for the day-to-day care and control of the child.

In Virginia, the courts generally rule that one person will have primary physical custody of the child.

Generally, the primary address of the child is the address of the person who has been granted primary physical custody of the child.  This address is used primarily for purposes of enrollment in public schools.

There are also rare situations where the parents of a child are awarded joint physical custody of a child, but this type of situation requires that the parents live very close to each other and that they get along well in order to provide the child with consistent rules.  Most courts feel that if the parents could get along that well, they would probably still be living together.

Virginia also has a type of arrangement which is commonly called ‘shared custody’.   This arrangement occurs when the court grants primary physical custody of the child to one parent, but the other parent has extended visitation which results in the child being in his or her care for more than 90 days in a year.  Those 90 days should be counted as 24 hour periods and not just that the parent sees the child for a portion of a day for 90 or more days in a year.

What is ‘sole custody’?

Sole custody is awarded by the court when the court feels that one person should have all of the responsibility and authority for the care of the child both as a legal custodian and as a physical custodian.

Another way the court can arrive at the same actual result is to grant legal custody to one person and also grant physical custody to that same person.

Why custody can be important

A custody determination is important because it gives the authority and responsibility for the child to one or both parents, which provides much needed stability for the child.

It is also important because the custody determination lets everyone know who has the authority to make decisions regarding the child.

Physical custody is also used as a factor in determining child support obligations with the non-custodial parent generally ordered to pay a support amount to the custodial 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