Child Custody & Child Visitation Attorneys in Richmond

When parents divorce, it is important to learn about the child custody and visitation options that are available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a family law attorney can often make the difference.

Contact our firm online or by phone (804-285-6253) to speak with a child custody and visitation lawyer from Locke & Quinn and arrange a consultation.

Custody Basics

The duty to provide day-to-day care of a child and the right to direct the child’s daily activities is known legally as physical custody. Legal custody means the rights and responsibilities associated with decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

Many options regarding the division of custody rights and responsibilities between divorcing parents exist. More and more, courts are encouraging parents to continue working together to raise their children even after their marriage has ended. Custody arrangements commonly include the following:

  • Sole Custody. Sole physical custody occurs when one parent retains the exclusive, primary right to have the child live with him or her. Sole legal custody occurs when one parent has the exclusive right to control the child’s upbringing. The most common type of sole custody is sole physical custody with joint legal custody and a generous visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. When one parent ends up with the primary responsibility for the couple’s children, the other parent, known as the non-custodial parent, usually has a right to maintain contact with the children through ongoing visitation.
  • Joint Custody. In joint custody, parents share responsibility for decision-making, for physical control and custody of the children, or for both.
  • Split Custody. Split custody is a less popular resolution where each parent takes custody of different children.
  • Shared Parenting. Shared parenting is a relatively new concept in child custody that has been adopted in several states. In shared parenting, children usually spend equal amounts of time with each parent and the parents share legal and physical custody.

Determination of Custody and Visitation

Divorcing couples often tackle custody and visitation issues as soon as they separate. Courts generally honor both long-term and short-term custody arrangements agreed to by parents. When couples can’t agree, procedures exist throughout the divorce process to resolve custody conflicts. Common procedures used to resolve custody issues include:

  • Temporary Hearings. The family court holds a temporary hearing shortly after the initial papers are filed. If custody is contested at this point, the court will issue an order deciding custody that will be in effect until the court enters its final divorce decree.
  • Custody and Mandatory Mediation. Most states now require parties in a contested divorce to attempt mediation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which divorcing couples work with a specially trained neutral third party to resolve some or all of their disagreements. Couples who resolve their custody disputes through mediation can include a provision in their final divorce decree making mediation mandatory to resolve future custody and visitation disputes.
  • Custody Evaluations. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding custody, most courts will order a custody evaluation prior to trial. The custody evaluation is made by an outside expert on whose assistance the court will rely in ordering a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.
  • Custody Trials. Every state has statutes and procedures for the legal resolution of disputed child custody. Most courts decide contested custody cases based upon a determination of what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Factors considered in determining custody arrangements include the child’s age, the child’s attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker, the physical and mental health of each parent, the existence of domestic violence, and the child’s wishes.

Modification of Custody and Visitation

Once the issues of custody and visitation have been resolved, either by the court or the by agreement of the parents, specific procedures must be followed to change the arrangement. If the parents reached their agreement through mediation, they may have to go back to mediation to make any modifications. If custody was established by a court order the parents must typically petition the court to make any modifications. In order to support a request for a change to a custody or visitation arrangement, the parent seeking the modification must show a substantial change in circumstances. Some courts will only consider a request for modification within a certain number of years after the original custody determination, but courts will almost always consider a request for modification if there is a showing that the child is endangered by the current custody arrangement. Some states place residency limitations on requests to prevent parents from shopping for friendly rulings in different states.

Conclusion and Support

The resolution of child custody and visitation disputes requires parents to act rationally and in their child’s best interests at a time when they are facing the overwhelming stress of divorce. Advice from a family law attorney will help you to understand your options and make a plan that will serve the best interests of you and your children.


DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Colleen Quinn, Esq. is more than just an exceptional attorney - she is an amazing person as well. Energetic, passionate and knowledgeable she went above and beyond and her expertise was evident in the way she handled my case. Having had no more than the weekend to scrutinize and digest the contents of heaps of documents, she defended me effectively and effortlessly with well-reasoned arguments. Evidently, she had invested considerable time and effort assembling all the relevant facts and then preparing a strong defense. She is very reliable; she will not disappoint. Thank you, Colleen!
Josh suberlak
Josh suberlak
My Experience With Colleen Quinn and Her Assistant Peggie Stinnette Are Absolutely The Best!!! Would Like To Commend Them Both For Being So Personable, Courteous, Passionate, Professional and Very Trustworthy!!! I'm Truly Grateful For All The Hard Work and Job Done Extremely Well!!!
Joe Trak
Joe Trak
Where do you go when you need an attorney? Most times you have no idea because there are hundreds of attorneys out there all claiming to be the best. I was able to find Attorney Quinn on the internet. I chose her because of her superior rating and prompt response. Attorney Quinn read my case and then gave me the legal reasons why it would be a difficult case to pursue. Based on her clear , thorough explanations, I decided to bring closure to the matter. It was the best decision I could have ever made. Thank you, Ms. Quinn and Peg, for the professional assistance you provided !!!!!!!!!!!! Brenda Williams Jones
brenda jones
brenda jones
Domestic Interstate Adoption finalization---Great team and outstanding legal services. From the first call to receive information to thr actual work of completing the adoption, the process was straightforward and I felt confident I picked the right attorney. Highly recommend Colleen Quinn and her impressive team. Charli was the absolute best!
Heather J
Heather J
Colleen, thank you for taking my case and providing me the closure I needed in settling a medical negligence issue. Because of your diligence and support, I can breathe a lot easier knowing that my experience hasn't gone unnoticed and without liability on the provider's behalf. Your communication and support are appreciated by me and my husband and our family; after many turn-downs from other firms, we are grateful to have found you and your team. I will continue to recommend you to those looking for a compassionate lawyer who will fight for the closure and results that women direly need in whatever situations they face. THANK YOU!!
Kia Johnson
Kia Johnson
Colleen, thank you for taking my case and providing me the closure I needed in settling a medical negligence issue. Because of your diligence and support, I can breathe a lot easier knowing that my experience hasn't gone unnoticed and without liability on the provider's behalf. Your communication and support are appreciated by me and my husband and our family; after many turn-downs from other firms, we are grateful to have found you and your team. I will continue to recommend you to those looking for a compassionate lawyer who will fight for the closure and results that women direly need in whatever situations they face. THANK YOU!!
Kia Johnson
Kia Johnson
Stacy Lee
Stacy Lee
Colleen and her legal team are top notch, friendly, efficient and would 100% reccomend and/or use again
Katie Oakes
Katie Oakes
We worked with attorney Colleen Quinn who is a AAAA adoption attorney. She is very knowledgeable about adoption as well as a very personable attorney. She helped guide us through a smooth adoption process. Her paralegal Charli is pretty amazing as well. We appreciate everything that you did for us. I also think your pricing is very affordable!!!!
Michelle Bower
Michelle Bower
The team at Locke & Quinn are the best.
Rene Haines
Rene Haines
Grateful to work with Colleen again on our second private adoption in 4 years! Thankful for her timeliness, effective commmunication, and outstanding staff.
Michelle Spencer
Michelle Spencer
So thrilled to work with Colleen Quinn once again for our second private adoption! Especially appreciate the timely, attentive, and effective communication with Colleen and her staff.
Michelle Spencer
Michelle Spencer
Stepdaughter adoption- My 8yr old daughter's biological father moved to another country. After 4 yrs and little to no contact I thought there was no way this would happen without a big headache. Well, I was wrong; to say everything I need t say I will give in bullet points: Caring, Personable, Upfront, Follow-up, Efficient, Economical, Experienced and Awesome.
Chris Perdue
Chris Perdue
As a client of Colleen Quinn I immediately knew her confidence and knowledge was what I needed for my medical malpractice suit. When 5 other Attorneys told me I had no case and wouldn't even listen to me, Colleen took time with me and immediately knew we had to go for it. 3 years later we have triumphed. She and her wonderful team had my back, supported me, and cheered me on the whole way. They never left my side, doubted me or stopped believing in me. Let the next chapter begin. I would definitely recommend Locke & Quinn. Thank you Colleen!!
Melissa Herring
Melissa Herring
I can't say enough good things about Colleen and her team. They have handled 2 step parent adoptions for us and 1 for a friend. Colleen is upfront about her plans for your case and made me feel very confident about our outcome. Charli her assistant is amazing and answered any questions I had quickly. If you are looking for a attorney who truly invests themselves in their work and really knows what they are doing you want Colleen.
Brandi Witherspoon
Brandi Witherspoon
My husband and I just recently finalized the adoption of our son thanks to Colleen! Our situation happened FAST, and Colleen never missed a beat. Colleen, Katie and Charli were all quick to answer any questions we had and made us feel confident in their ability to provide the services needed. We were blown away at the knowledge and organization Colleen had throughout this process as well! We intend to continue to grow our family through adoption again, and will be using Locke & Quinn!
Ashley Halsey
Ashley Halsey
My husband and I would definatly recomend Coleen for step parent adoptions. The process was quick and went smoothly. Her assistant Charlie was extremly helpful during the process as well. All and all they were extremly knowledgable on what needed to be done during the process which I feel made things go smoothly.
Bathsheba Colinborough
Bathsheba Colinborough
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed R
Ahmed R
Great experience!! Everything I needed they took care of with a timely fashion! Highly recommend!
Morgan Williams Seay
Morgan Williams Seay
They were very professional and helpful with my unique case for the adoption of my son. I would recommend Colleen Quinn and her team to anybody that is looking for adoption.
Nate Davenport
Nate Davenport
kathleen cossaboon
kathleen cossaboon
Bob Stiepock
Bob Stiepock
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
Lisa Moore Walker
Lisa Moore Walker
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OFCOLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
beLIeVE Fitness
beLIeVE Fitness
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
After doing quite a bit of research on the adoption process, we decided to set up an initial consultation with Colleen, and we found that first session very beneficial and informative. There were many things that impressed us about Colleen from the very beginning: her level of expertise and reputation as an adoption attorney, the accolades she's received throughout her career, her friendly and personable nature, and her willingness to provide us with comprehensive information about the adoption process including projected fees. We also wanted to make sure that we were being well represented and advocated for, and quickly knew that Colleen would not only guide us through the adoption process, but advocate for us as well. Colleen is both passionate about what she does and compassionate toward all parties involved in the adoption process.Colleen’s paralegal, CharSalle (Charli) is an absolute treasure! Charli was readily available to answer questions by phone or by email. She would reach out to us if there was a birth mother interested in speaking or meeting with us after reviewing our profile. We were matched with a birth mother in November 2014, and our daughter was born in February 2015. Colleen and Charli guided us through the initial meetings with the birth parents, the open adoption agreements, and they stayed in touch with us by phone and email when our daughter was born. Our adoption was finalized in six months, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of communication we received, and continue to receive, from Colleen and Charli as well as the level of expertise and true passion they have for guiding families through the adoption process. We highly recommend Colleen, Charli, and the staff at Locke & Quinn to anyone considering adoption!!!!
Joe Ana
Joe Ana
My wife and I adopted a babygirl in 2015. A friend of mine, whose daughter is lawyer, recommended Colleen Quinn. We went for our initial consultation and we could tell immediately that Colleen was very knowledgeable and professional. She went into detail and gave us the costs associated with the adoption as well as every single step in the process. Colleen is very welcoming and easy to talk to.We cannot leave this review without mentioning our primary contact, Colleen's paralegal, CharSalle Charles (Charli). Without Charli, I don't think we would have made it through the adoption. Charli was there anytime we called to answer our questions and to provide support for us. Charli even came to the hospital the day after our daughter was born, to handle all the paperwork between us and the birth mother.We truly thank Locke and Quinn and especially Charli for their hard work and support. Our adoption was even finalized a month in advance of the initial date set forth. We highly recommend Locke and Quinn to any looking to adopt!!!
Tierre Christmas
Tierre Christmas
Cathy Tyree Herb
Cathy Tyree Herb
Colleen and the team at Locke & Quinn was very helpful guiding us through our adoption with minimal issues - would recommend based on their knowledge and experience.
Chris _
Chris _
Colleen is an excellent attorney. She fights for her clients and takes care of them every step of the way.
Kim Miller
Kim Miller

 

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