Regardless of your gender or your parental status, seeking a divorce from your spouse can be an emotional undertaking. Not only is separating from someone whom you once deeply loved difficult, but so too is understanding the various laws that surround divorce.
At the law offices of Cravens & Noll PC, we know that men in a divorce often believe that they are unfairly disadvantaged, especially if they are fathers. Our lawyers are here to help you protect your rights as a father in a Virginia divorce, as well as effectively navigate the divorce process as a man.
We Represent Men Like You During a Separation or Divorce
Our lawyers will stand by your side as you navigate the divorce process, and can help you to understand and navigate the many legal topics that are a common part of divorce. These include:
- Property division. The equitable division of property can be one of the toughest issues to navigate in any divorce. Our lawyers will make sure that you understand the law, how to effectively negotiate a property division agreement, and what your options are when negotiations prove unsuccessful.
- Child custody. Many fathers believe that they will not be awarded custody of their children based solely on the fact that they are men rather than women. However, courts do not favor mothers based on gender alone, and men have as equal of a shot at obtaining child custody and visitation as do moms.
- Child support. The non-custodial parent in a child custody arrangement is typically ordered to make child support payments to the custodial parent. We can help you to understand how child support is calculated, how to adjust a child support payment, and factors that affect child support.
- While typically not an issue in a divorce, the establishment of paternity is critical for all fathers who wish to have parental rights, including the right to seek custody of or visitation with a child.
- Alimony/spousal support. Alimony is a common part of a divorce settlement; however, much like child custody and support, men often believe that they are at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to alimony, especially when a wife served as a stay-at-home mom. Let our lawyers represent you in negotiating your spousal support settlement, and help you to understand the laws that will guide a judge’s decision should your case go to court.
- Enforcement of a premarital agreement. We represent both men and women in the formation of premarital agreements in our state. Additionally, we can also help you to prove the validity of your premarital agreement, as well as enforcement of your premarital agreement, should your marriage end in divorce.
In addition to the above, we can also represent men who have been accused of, or who are victims of, domestic violence. We also provide representation to men who are in the military and who are navigating divorce.
Fathers’ Rights and Child Custody in a Virginia Divorce
As stated above, one of the most sensitive issues for men in a divorce is that of child custody, primarily because most men believe that they will not be given custody of their child(ren) based solely on the fact that they are men, not women. Our lawyers are here to help you to navigate the child custody process and protect your rights.
Courts cannot make a decision about child custody based on the gender of a parent alone. In fact, while there once was a presumption that mothers were indeed better caregivers than men, most states have done away with this. In fact, the law in Virginia explicitly reads that there “shall be no presumption in favor of any form of custody” (referring to sole or joint), and that the court shall encourage both parents to share in child-rearing responsibilities, and that there shall be no “presumption or interference of law in favor of either.” This is found in the Code of Virginia Section 20-124.2.
This means that when it comes to seeking custody of your child, you have just as much of a right and an opportunity to seek the custody arrangement that you want, and that is best for your child. You may try to seek sole or joint custody of your child depending upon your situation.
What Factors Do Courts Consider if Not Parental Gender?
When parents are divorcing, they are encouraged to negotiate their parenting plan outside of court; this is less expensive, less time-consuming, and often has a more favorable outcome. However, if parents cannot reach an agreement, they will need to turn to a judge to issue an order. Should a court be tasked with making a decision about child custody, it will do so based on the best interests of the child. In Virginia, factors that a court considers in determining a child’s best interests include:
- The age of the child;
- The mental and physical condition of the child;
- The relationship that exists between the child and each parent;
- The needs of the child;
- The role that each parent has played in the upbringing and care of the child;
- The ability and willingness of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent;
- The desire of each parent to maintain a close relationship with the child;
- The preferences of the child;
- Any history of abuse or domestic violence; and
- Any other relevant factors.
By demonstrating to the court that your child spending time with you is within your child’s best interests, you can win full or partial custody of your child. Our lawyers know what courts are looking for and what it takes to build an effective case.
Call Our Virginia Fathers’ Rights Attorneys Today
While being a father may have many benefits, when it comes to a divorce, especially a custody child arrangement, men may feel as though fatherhood is a disadvantage. However, this is not necessarily the case, especially when a father is represented by a competent lawyer who knows how to advocate for their rights.
To learn more about our fathers’ rights lawyers and our legal services, please contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, and Harrisonburg, Virginia.
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