This is the first post in a series I will be writing to discuss the rights of unmarried Virginia parents who are no longer a couple. I have decided to write on this topic due to the fact that unwed parents often become involved in disputes while being unsure of their rights. This can lead to situations which are not good for the child as well as unnecessary arguments. The goal of my coming posts is to provide information which will assist Virginia residents in better understanding their situation. If you find yourself in such a dispute then it is crucial that you contact a child custody attorney immediately.
I will be addressing a number of topics over my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:
- The rights of unmarried fathers and the need to establish paternity
- The process of establishing an initial custody order
- Discovery in child custody cases
- How parents should conduct themselves once the case has ended
These are important topics for multiple reasons. First, many parents do not realize that a biological father will have no rights or obligations until paternity is established. This means that a dad would have no visitation rights and would not be required to pay child support without first establishing paternity. Second, while completing the case may take some time it is important to realize that a temporary custody and visitation order can be obtained rather quickly. Third, the discovery process is critical to obtaining evidence which will be needed when requesting custody. Finally, parents who fail to properly conduct themselves upon the completion of a case will often go back to Court to settle new disputes.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you are involved in a dispute. Many Virginia parents make the mistake of taking matters into their own hands. Engaging in “self help” such as refusing to return the child to the other parent, or withholding visitation, will typically create problems when the time for a Court appearance does arrive. Counsel will help you ensure that the situation is handled properly and that the interests of both you and the child are protected.
Contact my office today to speak with a child custody attorney. We service Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York, and James City.