Custody and Visitation
Many families in Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, and York County have to deal with the stressful situation of a custody and visitation case. Disputes over custody and visitation of children are quite stressful for all involved. Here are a few things you need to know if you are seeking custody and visitation of a child in Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, or York County:
Things to Know Before Filing
If you are looking to take a custody or visitation matter to court in Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, or York County, it is helpful to know the procedures of each court. The process in every Virginia Court starts with filing initial petitions in your local Juvenile Intake Office. The filing fee for initial petitions is $25 per petition. If a custody and visitation order has already been entered for your child, you may file a motion to amend in the clerk’s office of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court where the previous order was entered. For instance, if you appeared in court previously in the Newport News Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, all subsequent custody and visitation matters related to that child will be in the Newport News Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, even if you have moved to another jurisdiction. The only way to transfer the case is to obtain the permission of the particular court where the case was previously heard.
I’ve filed for custody and visitation…now what?
Once you have filed the initial custody and visitation petitions or a motion to amend a previous custody and visitation order, your case will likely be set for an initial hearing. It is at this stage that it is extremely helpful to have an attorney who is experienced in trying custody and visitation actions in that particular court. For instance, if you are filing for custody in Newport News, you will appear in front of a judge only very briefly. The judge will likely appoint an attorney to represent the interests of your child or children. This attorney is known as a guardian ad litem. If you file a custody case in Hampton, you may not appear in front of a judge at all. This can be very upsetting to people who want to request a temporary order to govern custody and visitation until the judge hears all the evidence at the final hearing. Having an attorney at this stage can ensure that you get in front of a judge, if only very briefly, to request a temporary order. If you are filing a custody case in Williamsburg or York County, the Court typically requires that you attend a mediation session before you even appear in court. Each court has its own unique practices, and it is important to understand what is required in that jurisdiction to avoid a delay or even dismissal of your case. The attorneys at Goff Voltin appear frequently in Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, York County, and other Hampton Roads courts and are familiar with the local practices of each.
Do I really need a lawyer?
Most people would agree that there is nothing more important than the well-being of their children. The judge considers nine different factors in deciding custody and visitation actions. In addition, many pieces of valuable evidence, such as text messages or recordings, will not be considered by the judge unless the rules of evidence are followed to properly introduce them. If you are a non-parent (such as a grandparent or other relative) seeking custody, it is even more important to have an attorney on your side, as there are additional hurdles to overcome in these circumstances. Regardless of your situation, it is important to discuss the particular facts of your case with an attorney knowledgeable of the Rules of Evidence and the practices of your particular court to ensure that your evidence is fully considered by the judge.
Why Goff Voltin?
The attorneys at Goff Voltin frequently appear in custody and visitation proceedings in Newport News, Williamsburg, York County, and Hampton. In addition, the attorneys at Goff Voltin also act as attorneys for children in custody cases, giving them an in-depth knowledge of the standards used by judges in weighing custody and visitation matters. Call today for a free consultation and put our attorneys’ knowledge and experience to work for you.