Child Custody and Visitation

How does relocation affect custody in Virginia?

By January 6, 2017 September 4th, 2018 No Comments

By: Paul F. Nichols, Nichols Zauzig Sandler, P.C.

Are you considering relocating and wondering how it will impact the existing child custody arrangements in place since your divorce?

The best option is to obtain permission to relocate with your child from your former spouse. If he or she grants permission, the two of you can petition the court to modify the custody arrangement and allow the relocation.

If your former spouse does not agree, the issue must be litigated. Since no specific Virginia statute addresses relocation with a child, the court will treat relocation as a modification of custody and visitation.

How courts decide

The court will use the same legal standards that apply to any custody modification: What is in the best interest of the child? The court will weigh the benefits of relocating against the cost of potentially losing contact with the parent who is staying behind.

You will likely be required to establish a solid and clear plan for visitation to ensure the child’s continued contact with the other parent. You will also likely need to present compelling evidence that moving will provide the child greater stability, support or opportunity such that the benefits of the move will outweigh the negative impact on the relationship between the child and the “left behind” parent.

Getting legal help

Gaining permission to move with a child can be challenging. Whether you are a parent wishing to relocate with your child or seeking to prevent a former spouse from relocating, the experienced family law attorneys at Nichols Zauzig Sandler P.C. can guide you through the process.

To obtain legal assistance in a Virginia relocation custody case, contact the experienced Virginia divorce attorneys at Nichols Zauzig Sandler P.C. today. With three convenient locations in Woodbridge, Tysons Corner and Stafford, we are available to clients throughout Northern Virginia.


DISCLAIMER: The results of every case depend on factors unique to that case, and Zauzig Trial Group does not guarantee or predict results in similar cases