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Since 1995

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Advocating For Relatives Seeking Visitation Access

At MacDowell Law Group, P.C., our attorneys advise people about obtaining legal recognition of visitation rights for nonparental relationships. From time to time, we’ll hear from grandparents, older siblings, aunts or uncles who feel that their relationship with a particular child is significant and substantial enough to justify formal protection.

We refer to these arrangements as third-party visitation rights. Virginia law provides for the possibility of these relationships to receive recognition and protection, but the burden of proof is a steep one for the third party. Call 571-748-5647 to reach our Fairfax office to learn whether your case is one that stands a strong chance of success.

What You Need To Know About Third-Party Visitation Rights

It’s important to understand that a request for third-party visitation rights presents the risk of interfering with parent-child relationships. As such, third-party visitation cases are extremely difficult as the rights of the biological parents typically prevail over the third party. However, the rights of the biological parents can be denied under specific circumstances.

Regardless of which side of a visitation rights case you might be on, you can count on our family law attorneys to advise you about the legal, practical, financial and long-range implications of your position. Whether or not you choose to pursue your claim to visitation in court, your decision will be based on accurate and insightful legal counsel.

Anyone hoping to establish regular visitation rights through a nonparental relationship faces an uphill battle. You’ll need to demonstrate the value of the relationship to the child through clear and convincing evidence. In cases where your interest in the child’s welfare reflects an awareness of troubled home circumstances, you’ll also need to show how the absence of a relationship with you might cause the child harm.

Understand Your Options Before You Act. Consult With Us.

It isn’t easy to prove a right to third-party visitation under Virginia law, but we’ve assisted grandparents or other relatives essential to the child’s security in obtaining visitation. We’ve also seen situations where either one or both parents were fully justified in opposing the request for visitation rights.

For more information about your case, connect with our lawyers online or over the phone at 571-748-5647.