There are a number of factors that can play into a child custody determination. We recently discussed the impact domestic violence can have on children and the role it can play in child custody disputes, but there are other significant issues that can be determinative in these conflicts. Substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, financial resources, existing relationships, and even proximity to school and other family members can all be instructive to a court trying to resolve a child custody disagreement.
For many Virginians, there is nothing more important to them than their children. When divorce or other issues arise between parents, children can be adversely affected. Although Virginia's family law courts seek to determine what is in the children's best interests when issuing orders regarding child custody and visitation, those orders are granted based on the information provided by the child's parents. Therefore, parents seeking sole custody or who are trying to restrict the other parent's access to the child need to present compelling evidence to support their position.
Raising children is an expensive endeavor. Many married couples in Virginia are fortunate enough to have two incomes to draw from to cover day-to-day living expenses as well as medical, schooling and extracurricular costs. But when an individual becomes a custodial parent, he or she may have to flip the bill by him or herself. This can be financially challenging, to say the least, and may threaten to throw an individual into a debt spiral.
People in our society are more mobile than ever before. For many, packing up and moving to a new city or state is merely a matter of coming up with the money to relocate. For divorced parents, though, a move can trigger legal issues that, if not settled amongst the parties, may have to be dealt with in court.
Our last post on the blog discussed substance abuse and the profound impact it can have on children. Since it can have a tremendous effect on children, substance abuse issues should be aggressively litigated when brought up in the context of a child custody dispute. After all, the presence of substance abuse, if presented to the court effectively, can result in reduced or even eliminated contact with one's child. Therefore, when confronting this issue, there is often a lot at stake.
Child custody and visitation disputes are always resolved with the child's best interest in mind. This is true regardless of whether the matter is settled between parents or decided by a court of law. Because there are many factors that can contribute to a child's best interest, these issues are usually ripe for legal argument.
Dealing with child custody and visitation issues during and after divorce are perhaps the most challenging things a parent can face. Yet, many American parents face this tough reality. Sometimes, though, they are able to work out custody and visitation agreements amicably. Many parents are able to utilize these agreements to ensure that they maintain their bond and relationship with their child. However, in some instances this simply is not the case.Regardless of a parent's situation, creative thinking is often necessary to reach adequate child custody and visitation arrangements. One way to do this is to engage in what is often referred to as "bird nesting." This is a process by which parents keep a familial home so that children can maintain a sense of stability while the parents rotate in and out of the home according to a pre-arranged schedule. Of course, this can be challenging for parents, as they oftentimes will share a separate residence such as an apartment so that they can stay there when it is not their time to stay with the children in the familial home.This kind of arrangement can be beneficial to children because it allows them to stay in the same school, keep their same friends, see their parents regularly and be comfortable in the home that they have grown accustomed to. However, some experts warn that long term nesting can be detrimental to parents' relationships and their relationships with their children. This can be especially true when one parent begins a relationship with another individual. After all, one parent may be hurt and find it problematic when it is their turn to reside in the familial home with the children and they see signs of a boyfriend or girlfriend having spent significant time there with the children. Additionally, long-term nesting can leave children unsure of what the future holds with regard to their parents living arrangements, their living arrangements and their parents' relationship. Therefore, many experts recommend utilizing the nesting technique for only three months to six months.Child custody and visitation issues can be enormously complex depending on the facts at hand. By utilizing creative thinking and addressing issues head-on, an individual can ensure that he or she reaches an agreement that furthers the children's best interest. When these types of arrangements cannot be negotiated with the other parent, then the parents will likely have to take the matter to court and litigate the issue in front of a judge. Whether an individual is able to negotiate a resolution or must litigate it, the assistance of a skilled family law attorney often proves beneficial.