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Child Custody

An Advocate on your side

When it comes to access to your children, we protect your rights!

You can avoid a costly custody battle and protect your rights as a parent by hiring the right lawyer. Jennifer Oram-Smith Family Law in Virginia Beach is here to help you with all legal issues pertaining to protecting your child custody and visitation rights.

Custody and visitation schedules are often one of the most contentious issues associated with any divorce. The past decade has seen many changes in how child custody cases are decided. We are in an era when either the mother or father can obtain substantial custody rights without prejudice. 

Custody is awarded based upon factors that determine the best interest of the child. It sounds simple, but the way your case is prepared and presented makes a big difference in how the court determines custody of your children.

If you are a military service member there are particular challenges and complications, such as deployment to consider in your custody case. There are also laws specific to military members that you should be aware of and we will ensure you obtain all the rights available to you under these laws. (Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act  and The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act – SCRA.) 


An Experienced Child Custody Lawyer on Your Side

As an experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer, Ms. Oram-Smith is committed to helping parents work through complex custody, visitation, and parenting time issues. Our overriding concern is what is in the best interest of the children. A variety of custody arrangements can be worked out to meet the needs of the child: joint legal custody, sole legal custody, primary physical custody, and shared physical custody.
When a couple is pursuing a divorce, child support establishment usually needs to be addressed simultaneously with custody and visitation schedules. Child support establishment, modification and enforcement also requires competent representation to assure the most advantageous outcome for the children, and your situation. We are here to help, call us at the number below.

What is in the best interest of your child?

The relationship of a child with each parent before the divorce:

What is the child’s relationship with each parent?
Which parent has the child been living with on a regular basis?
Is there willingness of each parent to support the other’s relationship with the children and extended family?

The living situation of each parent:

Which parent will provide the best home environment?
What is the financial status of each parent?
What is the employment status of each parent?
Does the child have special needs that can be better met by one parent over the other?

Stability and consistency:

Which parent is the most suitable custodian based on character, temperament and stability?

What is the ability and interest of each parent to provide for the emotional, moral, social, material and educational needs of the child?

What child-rearing skills does each parent possess?

What is the apparent motive of each parent for seeking custody?

What type of extended family relationships exist?

The age of the children:

The age of the children can present various needs and challenges that will be addressed.

Are there infant children?
Are the children toddlers or preschool age?
Are the children teenagers?

Are there any children with disabilities?

Abuse or neglect:

Is either parent unfit to have custody? Drug or alcohol abuse, for example, usually makes a parent “unfit”. Other factors such as arrest records and criminal backgrounds weigh heavily in custody decisions.

The preference of the children:

Does the child have stronger emotional ties to one or the other parent?

​What About Visitation Rights for Extended Family Such as Grandparents?

Often when couples divorce, one or more of the parents may not allow the children to spend time with extended family members such as Grandparents. The law in Virginia allows petitions to the court for visitation rights for “persons with a legitimate interest” as sated in the code of Virginia. The court will decide all petitions based on the best interests of the child. Our family law practice represents extended family members in such cases.

Let us help you!

If you need any help, please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

(757)226-0141 Mon – Fri 9:00-5:00

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