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What do I need to expect going to to mediation for custody of my kids? I'm a father going for full custody of my 2 kids.

Norfolk, VA |

I live in VA and the mother took the kids away and moved to Cali over almost 2 months ago. Both of us want full custody but she's going back to Cali after mediation is done. I had to give her money several times over the past few weeks to fix her car and put gas in the tank. My son started school 1 month late due to her lack of preparation and he doesn't even have a new book bag or haircut. Do these things even matter to the court??

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Attorney answers 1


First, mediation is a meeting in which the mediator serves as a neutral third party to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator does not make decisions or tell you what to do. If mediation does not result in an agreement, then the case goes before a judge.
If the case goes to court, there are statutory factors that the judge will consider in awarding custody. The factors are:
1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child's changing developmental needs;
2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;
3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child's life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child;
4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members;
5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;
6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;
7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;
8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference;
9. Any history of family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228 or sexual abuse. If the court finds such a history, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and
10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

One parent having more money than the other is not one of them. In fact, if the mother is caring for the children, you should be providing financial support on a consistent basis. It could be detrimental to your case that the children are not able to have their needs met.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.

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