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A noncustodial parent is a parent who doesn’t live with their child primarily but has a right to visitation. Depending on the type of custody, the noncustodial parent can also have a right to make decisions regarding their child’s education, upbringing, and care.
In matters of child custody, parents who don’t have primary physical custody are legally entitled to visitation based on a predetermined schedule. The parents can negotiate an arrangement that works best. However, if they can’t agree, a family law judge will decide.
Understanding Visitation in Virginia
Virginia law requires the court to give primary consideration to the child’s best interests when awarding sole, joint physical, or joint legal custody. The court must ensure that minors have continuing and frequent contact with both parents when appropriate and encourage the parents to share in the responsibility of raising their kids.
If one parent, the custodial parent, has primary physical custody, the noncustodial parent should be allowed to spend time with their child according to a visitation schedule. The schedule can involve visits during holidays, weekends, school breaks, and other periods the parents agree to or the court awards.
Judges prefer the parents to create their own parenting schedule to suit everyone’s needs and communicate with each other to facilitate ongoing visitation. As a noncustodial parent, the custodial parent should allow you access to your child when you’re scheduled to see them.
Visitation can be in-person or virtual, although virtual visitation doesn’t take the place of quality, in-person time in every instance.
How the Courts Determine Child Custody
Although you want to see your children as much as possible, the court will consider your child’s best interests when deciding who should have primary custody. If you’re a noncustodial parent, you can seek visitation. You should attempt to create a parenting plan with your ex. Otherwise, a judge will decide for you, leaving you minimal control over how often you can see your child.
A child’s best interest is the primary factor in child custody cases, and the judge bases the court order on factors such as:
- The child’s needs, including a continuing relationship with extended family, siblings, and peers
- The physical and mental health and age of the child
- Each parent’s ability to actively support their child’s relationship with the other parent, including whether either parent has denied the other access to their child
- Each parent’s physical and mental health and age
- Each parent’s willingness to maintain a continuing and close relationship with their child
- The existing relationship between the child and each parent, considering the parent’s ability to assess and meet the child’s intellectual, emotional, and physical needs and the positive involvement with the child’s life
- A history of child abuse, family abuse, sexual abuse, or other acts or threats of violence within the last ten years, if any
- The role of each parent in the child’s upbringing
- Both parent’s ability to cooperate and resolve issues surrounding the child
- The child’s reasonable preference if the judge determines the child is of reasonable age, intelligence, understanding, and experience to express their preference
Contact a Dedicated Child Custody Lawyer Today
At Pincus Goodman, P.C., we understand how devastating it can be when a judge doesn’t award you custody of your child. Knowing you can’t see them any time you want is excruciating. However, you have various rights as a noncustodial parent, including visitation.
An experienced Virginia Beach child custody lawyer from our firm can help you create a visitation schedule that makes sense for everyone involved and fight for you in court. We will preserve your rights throughout all legal proceedings and pursue the best possible result.
If you want custody or visitation with your child during a divorce, call us at (757) 301-9634 today for your confidential consultation.