14 Mar 2014
Though a divorce in Virginia can be an extremely difficult and stressful situation for any married couple, the process can be especially hard on families with children. No matter how amicable the divorce may be, having parents split up is a major change in a child’s life. Moreover, if the divorce is adversarial, it can be devastating for children to witness parents fighting over them. Courts understand how vulnerable children may be during a divorce and how susceptible they may be to emotional harm. Therefore, courts often focus on achieving results that will be in the best interest of any children involved.
Custody and Visitation
Many determinations in a divorce will directly affect the couple’s children, including custody, visitation, and child support. In deciding custody, Virginia law dictates that courts must not automatically give preference to one parent over another. For example, the mother is not given an advantage simply because of a motherly bond or because she will remain in the family home. If both parents are deemed to be fit, the court will encourage continuing and frequent contact with both of them equally. Furthermore, parents are expected to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent and abide by all custody and visitation agreements.
On the other hand, if evidence shows the relationship with one parent may be toxic or harmful, the court will take that evidence into consideration when deciding custody and visitation. The court may order sole custody to one parent and mandate that visitation with the other parent be supervised until it is considered safe and healthy for the child.
Child support is another very important determination in any divorce with children. The court wants to make sure both parents are responsible in supporting their children. The state of Virginia has a specific child support worksheet used to calculate the amount of support owed by one parent to another. Support may be ordered for any child under the age of 18, any high school student up to age 19, or any child who has a disability that renders them unable to live independently away from a parent.
If you are facing a divorce with children, you rightfully have many questions and concerns. You should not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger at (703) 312-0410 to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney today.