If you are seeking custody and/or visitation with a child who is not your own (you are not the biological parent–you are a third-party or extended family member of the child), it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your custodial rights and additional legal issues relevant to the child. Our experienced family law attorneys represent clients throughout Central Virginia, including Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover.
Richmond Child Custody Lawyers
As you may imagine, biological parents are usually afforded a certain level of protection under the law. The protection is based on social assumptions that parents will act in their children’s best interests. However, unfortunately many parents do not and the law recognizes that there are certain instances when a grandparent or a third-party would be a better primary custodian (or who will benefit the child with set visitation rights).
If I am a Grandparent / Third-Party, how do I get Custody?
The first thing you should do is speak with an attorney. As mentioned above, the legal threshold for a third-party to obtain custody of a child is very difficult to meet. This is because you must prove that the biological parents are, essentially, not fit to serve as custodian (note: this is a generalization, there are numerous circumstances and factors that the Court will consider). An experienced family law attorney will explain the legal issues, and help you find ways to improve your chances of prevailing.
If I am a Grandparent / Third-Party, how do I get Visitation?
The legal standard for third-party custody petitions is different from third-party visitation petitions. Again, it is important to speak with a family lawyer who will explain the visitation threshold and discuss with you ways to achieve set visitation rights. As with custody, the Court gives biological parents the benefit of the doubt, so to speak, that they would know who their child should and should not visit with. This presumption can be overcome, however, under certain limited circumstances.
If I am a Biological Parent, how do I keep Custody or Prevent Visitation?
Again, speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances. As mentioned above, you may have certain presumptions under the law that would give you a legal advantage in Court. However, an experienced attorney will help you fight against the third-party’s petitions for custody and/or visitation with your child.
If you have a grandparent or third-party child custody or visitation issue, contact an experienced family law attorney at BoykoNapier today at (804) 658-3418 or via email.