When couples with minor children are going through a divorce, child custody concerns are paramount to the court, to the parents themselves, and to Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law. Having served clients in Virginia and Maryland for over three decades, Attorney Borden understands that child custody decisions are crucial since they will affect the child now and into the future.

The impact of child custody arrangements cannot be overstated, nor can the associated decisions involving:

  • How the court will determine child custody if parents cannot agree
  • Visitation arrangements for the noncustodial parent
  • Information-sharing between parents about their child
  • Direct contact protocol for the noncustodial parent

If you have problems or concerns about negotiating the terms of child custody, this is the time to contact Randall Borden. You will find him highly skilled and deeply compassionate. Though a smooth and able negotiator, he is also a talented litigator who is well-equipped to fight for your child’s rights and your own if your case goes to court.

Two Types of Child Custody

U.S. law recognizes two types of child custody:

  1. Physical Custody which defines where the child lives most of the time. Though joint custody is most often considered best for a child, some parents’ homes or work schedules may make this impossible. In such cases, both parents may agree on sole physical custody and arrange for generous visitation for the noncustodial parent, typically one or more evenings per week and every other weekend.
  2. Legal Custody is almost always shared by both parents, providing each with shared authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, and other major life choices. Only in extreme circumstances, such as those involving domestic violence is one parent denied legal custody.

Parental Responsibilities

Parents, married or not, are legally obligated to provide emotional, financial, and physical support for their children. These responsibilities encompass more than basics, including the duty of each parent to meet their child’s educational, medical, and recreational needs. In all but extreme cases, the courts encourage each parent’s supportive and interactive role with their children.

Information-Sharing Between Divorced Parents

State laws require that divorced parents in Virginia and Maryland share information with one another about their child’s health, education, and general welfare. Both parents are responsible for reporting what they know about the child’s academic performance, sports involvement, creative activities, and performances, even if such activities do not require parental participation. 

Direct Contact Between Child and Parents

Children must communicate directly with their parents regularly in order to maintain a close and healthy relationship. Parents are responsible for seeing to it that their child and their ex-spouse have access to one another — through text, phone call, Facetime, or email — even when they are in separate locations. 

Hopefully, such access can be amicably arranged by the parents themselves, taking into consideration their:

  • The child’s age and school schedule
  • Parents’ work schedules, social calendars
  • Child’s sports activities, therapy sessions, music lessons, playdates etc.
  • Medical and dental appointments of parents and child

Randall Borden is well aware of how difficult planning both visitation and communication between parent and child can be. His insight, diplomacy, and extensive experience overcoming discord will help to streamline the process.

What Happens When Child Custody Has To Be Determined in Court

Though one would wish that both parents could always agree on child custody arrangements, old wounds may prevent this from happening. When such critical negotiations have to take place at trial, it will give you peace of mind to know that you have a consummate child custody attorney on your side. The following factors will be considered by the court as it determines which parent should have physical custody if joint custody is not an option:

  • Child’s age, health, safety, and existing relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s health and stability in terms of mental health, criminal conduct, substance or domestic abuse
  • Each parent’s fitness ability to provide a safe, nurturing environment in terms of income, employment stability, mental health, past criminal conduct, and emotional maturity
  • Child’s preferences if the child is old enough to voice an informed opinion 
  • Each parent’s willingness to co-parent and encourage a positive co-parenting relationship with their ex-spouse

Though you and your ex may be willing and able to agree on the basics of child custody, you will likely still have questions and concerns best addressed by an astute attorney like Randall Borden.

When Child Custody Arrangements Have To Be Modified

No matter how well child custody arrangements have been structured or how smoothly they work, there are times when they have to be revised for reasons such as:

  • The child’s needs have changed 
  • The child’s stage of development requires more time with one parent
  • One parent’s work schedule or living situation has altered (e.g. remarriage, relocation)
  • One parent has become seriously injured or ill
  • One parent has had a major increase or decrease in income or assets, and so has become more or less able to house the child
  • Incidents of domestic violence or child abuse have arisen relative to one parent
  • One parent is interfering with the other parent’s relationship with the child
  • The child has been diagnosed with special needs that one parent is better able to handle
  • One parent is engaging in dangerous or illegal activities or abusing alcohol or drugs
  • One parent has recovered from an illness or injury or is now sober and in recovery

If one of these reasons makes your existing child custody arrangements unworkable, it may be time for a minimal update or a complete overhaul. In either case, Randall  J. Borden is well-prepared to help adjust your child custody arrangements so that they fit your present circumstances.

Contact Our Experienced Fairfax Child Custody Attorney

Child custody disagreements can be difficult to resolve and emotionally taxing. Once you speak to Randall Borden, you will know that he has what it takes to negotiate and draft a custody agreement that addresses the specifics of your situation, and, if necessary, to fight vigorously in court to protect your rights and the rights of your child. Contact him today to feel the reassurance that comes from putting your family in strong, capable hands.