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AttorneyTom
AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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This last year has been a nightmare for our family. Without

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This last year has been a nightmare for our family.
Without going into much detail we gave up parental rights to
our daughter and this past week custody was givin to her bilogical
grandmother in baltimore. I just got a court papers in the mail to appear
at the end of this month because my son age 14, which is adopted and
the brother of the my daughter which went to baltimore, there older half sister
now wants visitation with my son. I dont want this and niether does he.
What is going on and do I have the right to say no under the supreme court ruling of TROXEL.




Thank you for your question.


Troxel v. Granville didn't entirely destroy the concept of third party visitation. Instead, Troxel struck down the Washington statute, referring to it as "breathtakingly broad." While Troxel was a heavy blow in favor of parent's rights, it did not defeat third party visitation. The major problem with the statute in Troxel was that the judge had broad discretion based solely on the best interests of the child.

Virginia's statute is more narrowly tailored, specifying that the preferences of the parents should carry additional weight. While it's not as narrow as the statutes of many states, it's not as broad as the statute struck down in Washington.

I have included the statute (in relevant part) below. Please note the bold part.

As you can see, Virginia courts may award visitation to a third party. However, the well-reasoned preferences of the child involved may carry some weight with a court. Further, a parent's preferences should be given a great deal of consideration. Accordingly, you will want to retain an attorney to represent you in the matter, as your attorney may be able to help you avoid such a visitation requirement.


§ 20-124.2. Court-ordered custody and visitation arrangements.

B. In determining custody, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the child. The court shall assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children. As between the parents, there shall be no presumption or inference of law in favor of either. The court shall give due regard to the primacy of the parent-child relationship but may upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the best interest of the child would be served thereby award custody or visitation to any other person with a legitimate interest. The court may award joint custody or sole custody.



While I can control the quality of an answer, my control over the content of an answer is restrained by the truth. Please do not shoot the messenger. If you need clarification, please feel free to ask using the Reply feature.



Sincerely,


_____________________________________

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

How much weight does my son carry. He would like to visit his full sister which has been arrainged, but does not want anything to do with the half sister he barley knows and he stated to me he does not want to go to baltimore for any type of visitation even with his full sister. Can a judge tell us we have to go to baltimore?





If visitation is ordered, the court can order that a child will travel to a different city or state for or during that visitation period.

A court has a great deal of discretion when considering a child's preference. Really, that typically comes down to the court's assessment of the situation. If the court feels the child's mature and that the preferences are well-reasoned, the court may grant the child's preferences additional weight. However, if the court doesn't feel so, the court may give the preferences no weight. This is really a matter of discretion for the court.


While I can control the quality of an answer, my control over the content of an answer is restrained by the truth. Please do not shoot the messenger. If you need clarification, please feel free to ask using the Reply feature.



Sincerely,


_____________________________________

Disclaimer: By engaging in this correspondence, you agree to and understand the following:
No attorney-client relationship is formed through this correspondence. The following information is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice/legal services. Correspondence through JustAnswer is visible to the public and is not confidential.Customeris not familiar with your situation and could not possibly provide legal advice/legal services through JustAnswer. Customerdoes not claim to be licensed to practice law in your state. The information provided in this correspondence cannot and should not be relied on for legal purposes.
If you need legal advice/services you should visit a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find a local attorney at
Lawyers.com, Martindale, a Local Lawyer Referral Service, or a Local Legal Clinic (if you cannot afford an attorney).

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If visitation happens to be ordered. Do I have a appeal process?



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If a parent believes a court abused its discretion in ordering third party visitation, the parent may appeal the decision.

Appeals are complicated and the time frame for appeals can be extremely short, making it essential to have an attorney's representation for an appeal.


While I can control the quality of an answer, my control over the content of an answer is restrained by the truth. Please do not shoot the messenger. If you need clarification, please feel free to ask using the Reply feature.


Please remember to click the Green Accept Button and leave Positive Feedback so that I will receive credit for my time and effort spent responding to your question. Bonuses are always greatly appreciated. Clicking accept does not close the question and you are still welcome to ask for clarification if necessary.


Sincerely,


_____________________________________

Disclaimer: By engaging in this correspondence, you agree to and understand the following:
No attorney-client relationship is formed through this correspondence. The following information is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice/legal services. Correspondence through JustAnswer is visible to the public and is not confidential.Customeris not familiar with your situation and could not possibly provide legal advice/legal services through JustAnswer. Customerdoes not claim to be licensed to practice law in your state. The information provided in this correspondence cannot and should not be relied on for legal purposes.
If you need legal advice/services you should visit a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find a local attorney at Lawyers.com, Martindale, a Local Lawyer Referral Service, or a Local Legal Clinic (if you cannot afford an attorney).

AttorneyTom and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I will have my attorney present.

Thanks

I'm glad to have provided some valuable information! Have a great weekend!