CHILD CUSTODY AND
Representation by Children Advocate
Child custody is one of the
most contested areas of family law. In child custody and visitation
matters the judge has a lot of leeway in resolving these issues.
The judge’s decisions ultimately must be based on the “best
interests of the child.” Under Virginia law anyone “with
legitimate interest” may petition for custody or visitation.
In Virginia there are
essentially two main kinds of custody:
Joint Custody: 1.) Joint legal custody where both
parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the
child and joint authority to make decisions concerning the child
even though the child’s primary residence may be with only on
parent; 2.) Joint physical custody where both parents share
physical and custodial care of the child; or 3.) Any combination of
joint legal and physical custody which the court deems to be in the
best interest of the child.
Sole Custody: A parent or other person retains
responsibility for the care and control of a child and has primary
or sole authority to make decisions concerning the child.
Once custody is determined and
a parent is awarded sole physical custody or given primary physical
custody (the child will reside with that parent), the judge must
determine the scope of visitation by the other parent. The judge
has the duty to assure minor children of frequent and continuing
contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage parents
to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children.
Visitation by the non-custodial parent, barring negative
circumstances, may take on many variations, including visiting with
the children every other weekend, one evening for several hours
during the week that there is no weekend visitation, alternating
holidays, alternating or split school vacations, (Spring and Winters
vacations) and a portion of the summer. In the event that there is
an extreme geographic distance between the respective parental
households, or situations where violence, abuse or neglect exist
then visitation may be limited and/or supervised.
For many years Mr. Kavrukov
has successfully handled numerous custody and visitation disputes
for his clients-ranging from the relatively routine to the complex.
Once you become his client he will respond with a legal strategy
designed to achieve your goals of custody or visitation. He
regularly works with child psychologists, custody evaluators, and
other experts to help his clients obtain a successful outcome of
your custody or visitation goals.
Custody and visitation are
never permanently settled. Should there be significantly changed
circumstances from the last court order, and change in custody or
visitation is in the best interests of the child, the court retains
the power to alter the custody and visitation until the child turns
18 or is emancipated.