When a romantic relationship comes to an end and there are children involved, parents in Virginia must make multiple decisions. While the ultimate goal for most parents is to ensure that the transition is as easy as possible for the child, it is sometimes difficult for parents with strained personal relationships to come to a child custody agreement on their own. Fortunately, there are a variety of different options.
In most states, the options for married couples and unmarried couples are, for the most part, similar. Some couples will be able to come to an agreement on their own, often with the help of an attorney or through some other alternative dispute resolution option. If they can not come to an agreement, their case will be heard by a family court judge who will make a determination regarding the best interests of the child.
While the process is similar for unmarried couples, they do not have to go through the property division aspect of a divorce, potentially making their cases less complicated. In some cases, a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, may be the person seeking custody. While the process can vary by state, it typically begins with the person filing a petition with the court that describes the reason he or she is seeking custody and his or her relationship with the child.
Child custody cases can often have a major impact on parents’ relationships with their children. Because of this, many parents in Virginia want to ensure that their voice is heard and that the best interests of the children are truly pursued. As such, many ask an attorney with experience with family law to guide them throughout the process, even if both parents are willing to work together.