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Child Custody

Child Custody

Mothers and fathers have equal right to custody of their children. Courts are not supposed to assume that a child is automatically better off with either parent. In a contested custody case, both the father and mother have equal burden of proving to the court that it is in the best interest of the child to be in his or her custody. This sets up an adversarial mindset in a parent to prove he or she is the better parent. Choosing a non-adversarial approach regarding child custody matters puts the focus on the children and is more likely to produce better results for the family as a whole.

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Rules Regarding Custody and Parenting Time

  1. A court cannot solve all your problems. It is better to communicate and cooperate with the other parent regarding custody and parenting time.
  2. Always do what is best for you child, not what is best for you.
  3. Do not “bad mouth” the other parent to the child while he/she is in your care.
  4. Remember it is natural for a child to want to stay where the child is accustomed. Talk with your child about this and prepare the child for any changes in where they will be staying.
  5. Keep exchanges of the child brief and refrain from arguing with the other parent in front of the child.
  6. Do not involve the child in any conflicts with the other parent.
  7. Get agreements with the other parent or custodian in writing whenever possible.
  8. Do not abuse alcohol or prescription drugs. Do not have people around who abuse alcohol or prescription drugs.
  9. Do not use illegal drugs or commit other crimes. Do not have people around who use illegal drugs or commit crimes.
 

The Law Office of Li-Shann Durst is a family law firm focused on issues such as child custody, child support and parenting time.  These matters can sometimes be resolved by agreement outside of court through negotiations, collaborative law or mediation.  Trusted and experienced child custody lawyer, Li-Shann Durst provides prudent legal advice with compassion, confidence and sensitivity. Whether you are a mother, father, grandparent or other family member, attorney Li-Shann Durst will work closely with you to navigate every step of the child custody process. Focused on the best interests of you and your children, our law firm has a reputation of achieving the most favorable outcomes for our clients.

Child custody refers to either physical or legal custody:

  1.  Physical custody – Physical custody determines where the child physically lives and who he/she lives with.
  2.  Legal custody – Legal custody determines the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and safety.

The court will determine child custody matters based upon “the best interest of the child” by using the following factors:

  •  The age and mental condition of the child.
  •  The age and mental condition of each parent.
  •  The relationship between each parent and the child.
  •  The needs of the child.
  •  The role each parent has played and will play in the child’s upbringing.
  •  The willingness of each parent to actively support the child’s contact with the other parent.
  •  The willingness of each parent to keep a close relationship with the child and to resolve disputes in child rearing.
  •  The preference of the child in certain instances.
  •  Any history of family abuse.
  •  Other factors that the court deems important.

Parenting Time

A parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is legally entitled to parenting time with that child.  There are exceptions to this when it is not in the best interest of the child.

Parenting time involves how often visits take place, where the visits take place, and whether the visits will be supervised by another adult.

Child Support

The amount of child support depends on the income of the parents. Income used to calculate child support includes salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions and more. Income may also include social security payments, benefits for veterans, disability, etc. Child support can also be impacted by the custodial arrangement. Consulting an attorney can help you better understand your obligation.

To find out how we can help with child custody, please call our Ashburn, VA office at (703) 443-4762 or Schedule a Consultation.