My name is Nora Misenti. I’m an attorney here at Holcomb Law, and I’m going to share a little bit of information with you about custody as it relates to parents who are unmarried and maybe discuss a couple of your rights and things that maybe you should do or not do. First things first, both parents have custody of the child 100%, unless there’s been a custody order entered by a judge that’s to the contrary. So this applies across the board, whether or not parents are married or unmarried because custody decisions are made based on what’s in the best interest of the child. It’s not based on a parent’s marital status. And this is all fine and well. What it means is that both mom and dad, or both parents can make important decisions concerning the child. They have the right to live with the child and care for the child and again, have that physical custody of the child.
However, it can be a problem if parents aren’t able to reach mutual decisions concerning the child or if maybe one parent wants to relocate, a lot of times, parents want to leave and maybe go to another state because of employment or other opportunities and then there’s one parent that’s left here in Virginia, the non-relocating parent, and they’re having trouble getting access to the child. What you need to do is file your petition for custody in the juvenile court, in the jurisdiction where the child lives and hopefully you can do that before the other parent decides to try to relocate. If you can manage that, then good, because now you can ask the court to order that other parent to leave the child here. So they can leave if they want to, but they’re not allowed to take the child if the court says, no, you can’t. And then that can stay in place until you get a final decision in your custody case.
If there’s more information that you’d like to know about this topic, you could give us a call here at the office at (757) 656-1000 and we would be happy to speak with you. Thanks for watching.