Establishing Child Custody Plans

Child custody matters can be one of the most high-conflict areas of the divorce process. The attorneys at Schmergel & Mersberger, PLC, are well-acquainted with navigating the difficult terrain of custody arrangements and provide masterful legal representation to help clients come to equitable solutions.

Custody Options

Unlike some states that mandate a presumption of joint or shared custody between the parents, Virginia courts determine custody arrangements by hearing evidence of the “best interests” of the child. Custody options include:

  • Legal Custody: The court may award joint legal custody, where both parents share control and decision making for the child, or sole legal custody, where on parent is empowered to make all the important decisions for the child. This is independent of physical custody.
  • Physical Custody: The court may award primary physical custody, where the child resides primarily with one parent and has visitation or “parenting time” with the other non-custodial parent or shared physical custody, where both parents share parenting time with a set schedule. Though sole physical custody could be awarded, it is exceedingly rare absent evidence of abuse or neglect. Even in these situations, a court could provide for supervised visitation.

Pursuing Positive Outcomes

We have positive experience forging custody arrangements between parents who were never married , including for fathers who may feel disenfranchised. We also have the experience and knowledge of the different legal standards to pursue custody or visitation cases for third-parties, such as grandparents.

Every Client Matters To Us

At Schmergel & Mersberger, PLC, we take a team approach to representation, which means that you partner with a lawyer for the entirety of your case, not an assistant or paralegal. The boutique approach to our firm allows you to gain the benefit of agile responsiveness that facilitates effective resolutions.

Contact Schmergel & Mersberger Today

We help clients from all over northern Virginia with original custody arrangements as well as post-decree modifications. Call our Alexandria office at 703-763-2645 or reach us online to schedule an initial consultation.