What Are Visitation Rights in Virginia?

Updated: Jul 21



We often get asked “What are my visitation rights in Virginia?” by potential clients. The answer is actually quite simple – it depends. Let us explain a little more about visitation rights in Virginia and why it depends.


The first question that has to be asked and answered is whether or not there is a Court Order in place. If there is a Court Order regarding visitation, then that Order controls the visitation rights. This can be a visitation Order from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court or an Order from a divorce. As long as there is a Court Order regarding visitation that is active, then that states the rights of the parties.


The second question regarding visitation rights in Virginia is whether there is a Protective Order that is active. Whether it is a Protective Order between the parents or a Child Protective Order, that Order could control visitation rights. Protective Orders can, but do not have to, set forth whether a parent have visitation, visitation under some sort of rules/parameters, or not set forth visitation rights at all. Child Protective Orders usually are the most restrictive regarding visitation rights so pay close attention to the details in the Order. If you violate the Order, then it could result in jail time or a modification of the Order or both.


If the answer to both of those is “no”, then the answer is quite simple. Without a Court Order defining your visitation rights, then both parents have equal rights and access to the child or children. This is good and bad. It means that either parent can see, visit, or keep the child or children. It also means that one parent can keep the child or children away from the other parent. In those situations, there is not a lot that can be done because you cannot force the other party to allow you to see the child or children. We usually recommend contacting the non-emergency police line to get an officer to respond. While law enforcement will not enforce someone’s visitation rights in Virginia, there will be a record of what transpired. Also there will be video footage from law enforcement that you could show the judge.


We hope that this answered any questions that you may have or at least give you a starting point for what questions to ask. If the other parent denies you visitation or the ability to exercise your visitation rights, call an attorney to discuss your options. You can always call us at 757-454-2110, text us at the same number, or submit an online consultation request form. We do offer free initial consultations so it costs nothing to talk with us about your visitation rights.


For more information, feel free to visit our exclusive family law site for information on divorce, separation, child custody, child visitation, spousal support and child support at BrianThomasson.com.


Also we have other blog posts about family law. Feel free to read them and if you have questions let us know!


/s/ Brian


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