Archive for the ‘Custody’ Category

Can I adopt?

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

The short answer is ‘maybe’.

There are different types of adoption. You can adopt a baby, using an adoption agency or through a private placement. You can adopt an older child, again through an adoption agency or through a private placement. Some times, that private placement might be from a family member or a friend. Or you can adopt your step-child. This is the ultimate in private placement.  There are some situations where you can even adopt an adult.

Generally, any adoption will mean that you are subject to a visit by social services to evaluate your home and family dynamics. This is not meant as a mere hindrance to you, this is for the protection of the child. Remember that the best interests of the child come first!

Even though a step-parent adoption may seem easier, it still entails the biological parent giving up his or her rights to the child. This can sometimes be a very emotional time for parents. Even a father who has never set eyes on his child, and has never shown any interest in paying support or being a part of the child’s life may balk at giving up his parental rights.

Do you need an attorney? I don’t know of any law that requires someone to use an attorney. However, anyone who decides to proceed ‘pro se’ (which is a confusing term to mean that you do it yourself), will still be held to the same standard as an attorney. So it is often even cheaper to get an attorney at the beginning and do it right the first time.

And one very important thing to remember is that children are not for sale! This means that you must be very careful about what payments you make on behalf of the biological parents, or payments made directly to the biological parents.

My suggestion is that if you are considering an adoption of any kind, call your attorney and at least get some initial background information before you proceed. It can save you a bundle in the end!

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at

Who gets custody of the children in Virginia?

Monday, October 30th, 2017

The breakup of a marriage is a very emotional time….for the married couple and especially for the children.

No matter what custody decisions are made, things will never be the same. The children will no longer live in the same house with both the mom and the dad.

How does the court make a decision about where the kids will live?

It used to be that the kids always stayed in the house with Mom. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Today, the courts in Virginia make the decision based on what is in the ‘best interest of the child’.

I think that’s a good thing.

There is a list of things that the court will consider when it makes the decision listed in the Virginia Code in section 20-124.3 :

1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child’s changing developmental needs;

2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;

3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child;

4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members;

5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;

6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;

7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;

8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference;

9. Any history of family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228. If the court finds such a history, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and

10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

As you can see, this is a very broad list of things to consider. Also, with number 10, the court can look at anything that might have an impact on the decision.