This is the first post in what will be a series on how one can modify an existing Virginia child custody order. Residents of our state quite often wish to change custody but are unsure as to whether they have a basis to do so. Others may know they have a basis to change custody but do not know where to start in regards to the process. Our goal with this blog series is to help Virginians better understand these issues.
There are several issues involved with changing one’s child custody and visitation arrangement. Topics we will be addressing over the next several posts include:
- Whether one has grounds to modify their child custody order
- Whether you should hire an attorney for your change of custody case
- Beginning the process to change custody
- Conducting discovery in a Virginia custody modification matter
- Attending the evidentiary hearing
- Defending against a change of custody request
As Virginia child custody lawyers, we deal with these types of issues on a regular basis. If you are in a situation where you are considering filing for a modification of custody then you should do so immediately. Parents who wish to change their current arrangement, but wait to do so, create a problem for themselves. This problem is that by waiting to initiate the process one may “validate” the current situation as good for the child as far as the Court is concerned.
As we will discuss in more detail over the coming articles, changing custody requires you to show that the current situation is not serving the best interests. If, however, a problem arose sometime ago and you have waited to modify custody then the Court will often not believe that the problem exists; the Court will often hold that if a problem truly existed then the parent would have filed right away. In other words, by waiting to initiate the process you either 1) potentially make yourself appear as if you are “making up” a story in an effort to gain custody or 2) give the impression that the situation is not as dire as you might believe it to be. Creating these types of assumptions about your case will hurt your chances with a Virginia Court.
It is understandable that you may wish to wait to initiate the process. You may be trying to keep things civil with your ex for the sake of your child. Also, you may be nervous about the effect of upending your child’s current routine. These types of concerns are completely valid. It is important to remember, however, that decisions regarding the best interest of one’s child often involve tough trade-offs. If your ex is no longer serving the best interests of your child or children then it is often best to get the kids out of a bad situation so that they can be in a positive and productive environment that will foster their growth.
If you believe you may need to modify your child custody order then call our Virginia Beach family law attorneys today.