In today’s culture, child custody and visitation factors happen in cases other than divorces. Custody and visitation legal rights need to be set for couples seeking divorce, grandparents, step-parents, former partners, and parties of extramarital affairs and one-night stands. In each of these scenarios, the Courts are considerate to the rights of the parties and the rights and best interest of the children involved.

In all child custody scenarios, the parties should know their legal rights and the method by which a family and domestic relations court will set up child custody and visitation. Custody and visitation laws and application of them are fluid, i.e., always changing and being revised. For anyone who is not up to date about the latest laws governing child custody, you could wind up confused and discouraged. A Virginia Beach law firm for child custody and visitation would be a useful resource to you.

In Virginia, courts always make custody and visitation rulings according to the best interest of the children. A great number of times, the parties will find these interests may not comport with their own. Decisions of the court may impose schedules and demands on the parties they failed to anticipate, such as visitation, travel, school events and extracurricular functions. Yet another common subject is child support and other financial responsibilities. The court may order child support to be paid, or reduced in some circumstances, and may require one party to pay for education and other social functions, such as sports activities or boy/girl scouts. Once more, these demands may be unforeseen and have a negative influence on the lives of the parties.

Moreover, one of the parties may have unfavorable personal feelings against the other party. For instance, one of the parents might not care for the grandparents of the child. In situations of extramarital affairs or one-night stands, there may not be any connection between the parents of the child. In these instances, the court will tend to look beyond the relationships between the parties and focus primarily on the interests of the children. You may discover that you're going to be expected to maintain a civil relationship with somebody you otherwise would not so that your kids may have a relationship with the other party.

To better help the court in determining what's in the best interest of the children, the court may appoint a Guardian ad litem (GAL) for the children. A GAL is usually an attorney who is experienced in domestic law. Since most courts do not favor testimony from involved children, and in many scenarios they are too young to do so, this lawyer is appointed to represent their views. A GAL will visit the children in a more comfortable atmosphere, for instance their house, school, or in the attorney's place of work, and seek to gather from the kids what their feelings are on the custody and visitation. At times a child may not desire to associate with the other party. A GAL would be in a position to assess if it is resulting from some real complaint, such as abuse, or is it as a result of alienation by the other party.

In determining what's in the best interest of the children, courts use a number of factors which have been determined appropriate by the state legislature. In addition, a judge may bear in mind other criteria not specifically mentioned by statutes. Every child custody and visitation circumstance is different in its specifics. Not every factor may apply in a specific situation, and not every factor may be favorable for you and your case. So as to have a greater understanding of the issues and how the law is going to be applied to your scenario, you should always speak with a child custody lawyer in Virginia Beach.

James Garrett is the founder of Garrett Law Group, PLC in Virginia Beach, VA. (757) 422-4646.

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Author's Bio: 

James Garret is the founding member of Garrett Law Group, PLC in Hampton Roads, VA. His firm staffs attorneys for criminal defense, lawyers for traffic tickets, family law attorneys, and accident injury lawyers.