Kelly Byrnes & Danker, PLLC continues to be fully available to serve the needs of both our existing clients as well as new clients for their family law matters. Although we are primarily working remotely due to the impact of COVID-19, we remain fully operational and accessible to meet with clients via video and telephone conferencing during this time period. If you are already working with an attorney, they remain available to you via email or telephone at (703)224-0888. If you are interested in a consultation or becoming a new firm client, please use the link at the bottom of our home page and complete the information at “Discuss Your Case With A Lawyer”. Someone will respond to your inquiry promptly. Read More

When negotiations fail and parents face the courtroom

When the marriages of Virginia parents end, their primary concern will most likely be what will happen to their children. These days, most parents attempt to negotiate their own child custody agreements, but sometimes, negotiations fail, even with the help of a mediator. When parents face the courtroom, they will want to understand what the “better parent standard” is as they prepare for the hearing.

Courts may favor joint custody these days, but they still put the best interests of the child first. In order to determine what that would mean for a particular family, numerous factors are considered. Each parent will need to show the court how he or she will care for the children’s physical and psychological well-being. It may be tempting to point out the other parent’s less than stellar personality traits, but the court will not appreciate it.

It would make more sense for each of them to show a willingness to work with the other parent when it comes to the needs of the children, including visitation. A parent who can put aside personal conflicts with the other parent for the good of the children will make a better impression on the court. Hopefully, that sentiment will survive the hearing.

A Virginia court may feel better about the situation if the parents had come to an agreement on their own, but that could be overcome. Parents who face the courtroom still need to show a willingness to cooperate even if they were not able to create a parenting plan without the assistance of the court. In some cases, there may only be one or two points that require some assistance from the court to resolve. As long as the parents show they made a good faith effort to negotiate, overcoming the better parent standard remains possible.