Child custody disputes do not only affect a child’s biological parents. Many times there are other loving adults in the child’s life who have a positive relationship with the child and who may be concerned with staying a part of that child’s life. These adults may include grandparents, former step parents, family members, or any other adult who has had a long term and significant relationship with the child. Virginia law allows anyone who is a “person of legitimate interest” to file for custody or visitation of a child. At Garrett Law Group, PLC, our family law attorneys are experienced in fighting for the rights of grandparents and other third party adults who are concerned with protecting their relationship with a child who is not their own. Call our office today.
Norfolk & Virginia Beach lawyers dealing with grandparent and third-party child visitation
In most family law cases, the Court assumes that a child’s biological parents have the right to decide who should or should not have regular access to a child. If both biological parents agree that a third party should not have visitation with a child, than the Court will not typically interfere with that decision. However, if the person of legitimate interest can demonstrate that the child would suffer actual harm by denying them visitation with the child, the Court may step in and order visitation rights.
The burden of proving actual harm is on the third party requesting visitation. An example of when actual harm may exist and can be proven are situations in which the biological parent has voluntarily placed the child in the custody of the grandparent for a significant period of time, and the grandparent and child share a close bond. Another example may be if a step parent lived with a child for a number of years, and then went through a divorce with the biological parent. In both of these examples, the third party may be able to prove that the relationship they shared with the child was in the child’s best interest, and that discontinuing the relationship would cause the child harm. The law with regard to third party visitation is intentionally broad, and the Court will carefully consider the unique facts of each case. Our third party visitation lawyers have successfully fought and won visitation rights for grandparents and other third party family members. Our attorneys will prepare the best argument possible to earn you visitation rights.
Contact a Virginia visitation lawyer today
Garrett Law Group, PLC knows that the relationship you have with the child in question is your number one priority. This relationship is too important to let your case be handled by anyone other than an experienced family attorney. Our attorneys always handle each case personally. We never give your file to a paralegal, and are always available to answer your questions 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us by email or call today at (757) 422-4646. We assist clients throughout Virginia, including the areas of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York, and James City.