As you know, I frequently post "reader questions" over on the Facebook page for community responses to reader emails.. but sometimes, a professional response to the question is needed. Lately I have been receiving questions about lawyer referrals, custody issues, and legal questions that I simply can't answer.
We recently chatted with Virginia C. Haizlip, a Northern Virginia Family Law attorney at Cole Miller PLLC in Vienna and asked her to give us some tips about commonly asked questions regarding custody issues in Virginia.
"When I meet with a new client, one of their major concerns is how custody of their children will be decided. The first thing to know is that there are two major aspects of custody: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody deals with who has the authority to make major decisions, such as academic, medical, and religious decisions, for your children. Legal custody can be joint, meaning that the parents will work together to make decisions, or sole, meaning that one parent will have the authority to make the decisions by him or herself. Physical custody deals with who is actually caring for the children at any given point of time.
Physical custody runs a spectrum from equal parenting time (shared physical custody) to a more traditional schedule where one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation according to a prearranged schedule. In extreme cases, one parent may be limited to supervised visitation or no visitation at all. However, that type of arrangement is very rare."
In determining the custody arrangements for a family, the court must consider the best interests of the children. The factors courts in Virginia use can be found in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3. Some of the most important factors the court considers are the roles each parent has played in the children’s lives thus far, the parents’ relative abilities to care for the children, and the parents’ willingness to cooperate with each other in raising the children going forward. If you are faced with a custody dispute, you should review these factors and think about evidence and facts you can use to support your case."
Virginia Haizlip graduated from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. Ms. Haizlip practices exclusively in the area of family law, representing clients in all aspects of divorce, custody, and other family law matters. She is experienced in complex divorce and custody cases. Ms. Haizlip handles cases in Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. Ms. Haizlip also focuses her practice on employees and spouses of employees of the federal government, especially cases involving foreign assignments. Ms. Haizlip enjoys working with clients in areas of alternative dispute resolution, including both mediation and collaborative divorce.
This blog post is intended for general information only. Call Cole Miller PLLC 703-883-3707 or
consult with a licensed Virginia attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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