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Plaintiff mother filed suit in the trial court (Virginia) seeking a divorce, custody, visitation, and child support from defendant father. A decree of divorce was entered granting the father a divorce. The other issues were taken under advisement.
The father argued that the mother prevented him from taking advantage of all of the visitation provided for in a pendente lite visitation order. The trial court granted the parties joint legal custody. The mother was awarded primary physical custody. The father’s visitation rights were specified. Neither party was an unfit parent, but they had communication problems with each other. There was no evidence that the child was suffering or being harmed by being primarily with his mother. The father failed to show that all of the times that he did not exercise his pendente lite visitation rights the mother prevented him from doing so. The mother had a legitimate concern that the father had exercised his visitation rights, in part, by taking the child to work. This led to an altercation with the maternal grandmother and aunt and involved the police, but the criminal charges had been dismissed. The fact that the mother left the child in the care of her mother when he was sick instead of contacting the father was not unreasonable in light of the litigation. The father’s child support obligation was set at the presumptive amount provided for by the Virginia Child Support Guidelines.
The parties were awarded joint legal custody of the child. The mother was awarded primary physical custody. The father’s visitation rights were specified. The father’s child support obligation was increased.
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