Practice Areas

DUI Criminal Defense

If you have a DUI charge in the Northern Virginia area, the experienced lawyers at Westlake can help


We are planners, strategists, and problem solvers. To us, “planning to win” is more than an expectation - it is an action.

Child Custody Laws in Northern Virginia

Few things are more sensitive than the battle for child custody between parents, grandparents, or guardians. Child custody battles can be lengthy, and they require a skilled attorney to help navigate the case and reach the desired outcome. At Westlake Legal Group, our team of knowledgeable attorneys has years of experience helping Northern Virginia residents peaceably resolve child custody issues.

Our team acts as your ally, helping you reach the best outcome for you and your children. Allow us to help you reach custody terms that benefit you and your family by contacting us for an initial consultation today!

Understanding Child Custody Laws in Northern Virginia

Factors That Contribute to Child Custody Determination

Judges evaluate a number of factors to make the best determination for who gets custody, including:

  • Age and mental condition of both parents and the child/children
  • Relationship between the parents and their child/children
  • Needs of the child/children
  • Child/children’s best interests
  • Willingness of parents to support child’s contact with the other parent
  • Willingness of parents to maintain a close relationship with their child/children
  • Willingness of parents to resolve disputes
  • History of family abuse
  • History of alcohol abuse
  • History of illegal or prescription drug abuse
  • Adultery
  • Criminal convictions
  • Founded Child Protective Services complaints
  • Civil commitment or mental health hospitalization

In addition to each of these, the judge may also consider what the child wants. However, children younger than 14 often have less weight given to their personal preference. Consult with your child custody attorney to find out what legal options may be available.

Types of Child Custody Available in Virginia

There are three main types of child custody agreements available in Virginia. These include the following:

  • Joint Legal Custody: In this situation, both parents assume responsibility for the care and authority of their child/children, regardless of where the child/children spend most of their time.
  • Joint Physical Custody: This means that parents will reach an agreement in which they have physical custody of the child every other week or month.
  • Sole Custody: Only one parent is given physical custody and authority over the child/children. Non-custodial parents are able to seek visitation rights.

If you have questions regarding your child custody arrangement, consult with Westlake Legal Group by scheduling an initial appointment today.

FAQs for Child Custody Laws in Northern Virginia

Who has the right to custody of a child?

Absent an adverse court finding, each parent has equal rights to a relationship with their child, including the physical custody of their child, regardless of whether or not they are married. No preference is given under Virginia law to either the mother or the father, and the law, as a default, requires judges to ensure regular and frequent contact with both parents.

What happens after I file for child custody?

After you've filed your petition for child custody, your case will likely be heard within several weeks. If you have a contested custody case, usually the judge will enter a temporary custody and visitation order, as well as an order for both parents to enter a parenting class. Failure to attend the class will likely result in your inability to maintain custody. The judge’s order will also set an additional hearing in a few months’ time. Find out more details about the child custody hearing process by consulting with your Westlake Legal Group attorney.

Westlake Legal Group: Northern Virginia’s Child Custody Attorneys

If you need help navigating a child custody battle, Westlake Legal Group is here to help. We’ve helped countless families throughout Northern Virginia reach the custody agreements that work best for them and their children. Schedule your initial consultation with our team to get started today.

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The information on this website is for informational purposes only; it is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. It does not constitute professional advice. All information is subject to change at any time without notice. Contact us for complete details.