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MODIFYING A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER IN NORFOLK, VA

This page helps to explain how to modify a custody order in Norfolk, VA. It should not be taken as legal advice. If you have questions, call the trial tested Norfolk, VA child custody and visitation lawyer, Anthony Montagna, III.  Anthony has won child custody cases in Norfolk, Newport News and all of Hampton Roads.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT TO MODIFY A PREVIOUS JUVENILE COURT CHILD CUSTODY ORDER IN NORFOLK, VA

Although one generally begins a child custody matter in Norfolk, VA by filing a Petition to determine child custody in the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, to modify a previous child custody order, one will generally need to file a motion to modify the previous child custody order in the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Additionally, one needs to be aware that the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will retain jurisdiction to modify its order if the child or one parent continues to reside in Virginia. If neither a parent nor the child continues to reside in Virginia, jurisdiction is determined pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

Under UCCJEA, jurisdiction is generally determined if Virginia is the home state of the child or Virginia was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from Virginia but a parent or parent acting as a parent continues to reside in Virginia. Furthermore, if a court from a different state fails to meet the requirements to exercise initial jurisdiction or a different state court has decided that Virginia is the proper forum and declined jurisdiction, Virginia may exercise jurisdiction over the matter. Finally, if no other state would qualify under the UCCJEA to exercise jurisdiction or all other states who could satisfy the requirements under the UCCJEA to exercise jurisdiction have determined that Virginia is the better venue, Virginia may exercise jurisdiction over the child.

WHAT DOES A JUVENILE OR CIRCUIT COURT IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA CONSIDER IN MODIFYING A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER?

To modify a court order for custody, the Supreme Court of Virginia opined in Keel v. Keel. 225 Va. 606, 303 S.E.2d 917 (1983) that  two simple factors be considered.  First, the courts consider whether a material change in circumstances has occurred.  Second, courts consider whether a modification of the custody situation would be in the child’s best interest.

Unfortunately, there is no clear formula to determine if a modification is in a child’s best interest.  Some factors that the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court have noted are the preference of the child, remarriage by a parent, new employment, and death of a parent.