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InformationForYou, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1956
Experience:  18 years as a family law attorney, adjunct law professor
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Hi , If I was married for two years and from this marriage

Customer Question

Hi , If I was married for two years and from this marriage there are two children from him from his previous marriage . They have no other female figure apart from me as their mother lives abroad and the kids have very close relationship with me and they consider me as their mother.
Wanted to know what are my chances of getting visitation for these kids if i fight in juvenile court . The divorce is still pending but will go through in June. We already had a separation agreement bt no visitatio
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I can never predict the chances or the outcome of a court case since I have no way to independently review the facts or the evidence in enough detail to offer an educated opinion. Some courts will grant visitation to step parents who have developed a strong bond with the step parent during the marriage however you should file this request along with the divorce and not open a separate case. You may also have to serve the mother as she would have the legal right to be heard in any case that affects her children. The court bases its decision on the best interests of the children so if you can show that it would be in the best interests of the kids to have visitations with you then you may have a chance at success. This is also going to depend on how much opposition there is from the parents since courts generally give parents the right to determine who their children can come into contact with.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you dave for your advise,allow me to explain ,


I was married for two years from (May 2010- April 2012)in Loudoun County VA, now in divorce process, I have two step kids from this
marriage, one daughter will be 10yrs in 1months time and son 12yrs old, I have a very close loving relation with them and they see me as their mother ,even after the separation I have been in their life consistently from their b'days to daily routine life as I have been having visitations with them, at times my daughter will stay with me as well . They don't have any other mother figure in the US apart from myself ,their biological mother is abroad and has not seen her kids for the past nearly 3 years and she can't even come to US as she has no status to come on . Me and my ex agreed to have a legal separation agreement but one thing I didn;t legalize was to put
visitation rights in it, as he had verbally promised me that he would allow me to see and give me visitation rights.


But time to time out of revenge and mental abuse he emotionally tortures me by not allowing me to see my kids or even not allow to speak to the kids on the phone. Its been one year now since our separation and now my ex wants to finalize the divorce as a uncontested divorce but same time since he has not abide by his verbal promise due to which he has again stopped me from seeing my kids .

I have decided that I am going to fight in court to get visitation rights as a person who has legitimate interest . So my question is can I contest a divorce on the basis for visitation rights for the kids where the divorce will be finalized in court or do I have to separately file for visitation rights in the Juvenile and domestic court in Loudoun county VA to get visitation rights. I have a family lawyer already who wishes for me to file petition in juvenile court for which I am not 100% sure so wish to get a second opinion on this matter as I feel it is a very delicate and complicated case and want to make the right decision.


As for going through Juvenile Court it means It may take some time before my case is heard in Court which means till then I will not be able to see my kids. I am thinking by contesting my divorce in court , I have better chances of getting my case across same time to get visitation rights . Any how please advise me on this matter. And yes just to let you know I have done a lot of research and study on the rights for that third party visitation rights so I am aware of my chances .

What have I tried so far?: I already filed a petition in Juvenile court Last year around November2012 and they told me they not taking any cases till april 2013 and the intake officer told me that the Loundoun county Juvenile is not very keen in giving visitation rights to third parties no matter what the circumstances are. My family lawyer opinion is still to file again at the juvenile court for visitation rights.. and not finalize the divorce yet till the case at juvenile is heard. My Ex is now ready to face the contested divorce as that is what I want, just waiting on me to pick a court date which will be in Mid June. I am confused and don;t know what to do now..


Lastly Dave,If I do go to the court to sign off not agreeing to the divorce , should I take the attorney with
me or at that time there is no need as the judge will be assigning another hearing or may be meditation correct ??

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
I am going to have to opt out of this question as I cannot completely analyze the case from here. You can ask for the visitation in the divorce but I can't say that it will delay the divorce and it may become an separate issue after the divorce. I do not practice in your local court system and much of this will depend on the judge in that court as to how he or she wants to handle this. So I will leave this question open for the other experts to see if anyone may have a better handle on your case. You will not be charged for my answers and there's no need to post a rating for service as I will no longer be the expert in this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for being up front.. appreciate it.

Expert:  InformationForYou replied 4 years ago.
I am a VA lawyer from N.VA. You can try to hold up the divorce because that will possibly provide some leverage with your husband. This is important for 2 reasons. First, the intake officer was correct: visitation isn't often granted to third parties. Second, the JDR (Juvenile and Domestic Court) has a slow docket as you saw when you last met with intake. It is possible to have "concurrent" jurisdiction over visitation matters between the JDR and Circuit courts which your lawyer can discuss with you. That means that you don't have to necessarily pick one court or that her...but can pursue the issue in both. That said, I don't think the Circuit court has jurisdiction over visitation as these kids aren't kids of the marriage. Again, if your husband doesn't know that though, you could try filing a motion in the divorce case to slow up the divorce and delay having it set for a hearing...again to try to get him to settle with you. (You don't want it heard in the divorce case because it will be dismissed or ruled against (you).

Good luck and please click accept to give me credit for responding.