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Protecting Your Children During Divorce

Child Custody, Support & Visitation Attorney in Charlottesville, Virginia

Children need stability in their lives, they suffer when bounced around like a ping pong ball. When one parent has selfishly disrupted that stability, we can help you accomplish what’s in the best interest of your children. We also understand that both parents have financial responsibilities to their children. We know how to fight on behalf of you and your children to ensure those responsibilities are met by the other side. We want to help. Call us.

Laura Blair ButlerDivorce and Family Law Attorney


“Wonderful law firm…Laura Butler is the best! Very realistic, yet understanding.”

“In every professional dealing I have had with Laura Butler, I have found her to be exceptionally knowledgeable and well-prepared. Her knowledge of the law has been thorough in each of our dealings. In addition, she has consistently been able to see my situation and her counsel has been to the point and helpful for me specifically. She has earned my trust in her judgment. I find her to be pragmatic and an effective communicator – able to grasp the situation and to communicate clearly the counsel, advice, and solutions that are best in each situation.”

“When you first interview Laura Butler, it is apparent you are in the presence of a true professional in all aspects of family law. From her childhood, Laura was exposed to this often contentious environment presented by the divorce of her parents. From this experience, she can offer valuable counsel to children involved.”

“Laura is always prepared. I never saw her surprised either in or out of court. She treats all adversaries with respect, and then proceeds to dismantle them. When I saw how well she knew, and could quickly recall, the details of my case, in court, I was amazed. The other attorney had to refer to his notes to get the names and ages of the children, while Laura was able to give names, ages and the schools they attended without referring to anything. I could tell the respect the judge had for her.”

Contact us today for an Initial Consultation.  It’s the first step toward putting your life back together.

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Seven frequently asked questions about VA child custody, support and visitation cases:

1. Do I need an attorney for a family law proceeding?

Although it is possible to represent yourself in family court, it is not advisable in the vast majority of cases. Should you choose to represent yourself, the court cannot assist you with your case. You are held to the same requirements as the other party’s attorney. If you mishandle your case due to lack of knowledge or skill, an attorney may have difficulty reversing your mistakes.

2. What are some useful guidelines for parents?

Assure and re-assure your children that they are not to blame for the breakup and that they are not being rejected or abandoned. Children, especially young ones, often mistakenly feel that they have done something wrong and believe that the problems in the family are the result of their own misdeeds.

Giving a child the false belief that the child is the decision maker in matters of custody or visitation is not only unfair to the child, but a serious misrepresentation of the law. Judges will try to take the true wishes of an older child into account as one factor, but the only decision maker is the judge.

Try not to upset a child’s routine too abruptly. Children need a sense of continuity. It is disturbing to them if they must cope with too many changes at once. Maintain consistent parenting.

3. Who receives custody of the children?

This is the crucial issue in most divorces. In determining the custody of minor children, the court is guided by one standard, the best interest of the child. The court may award “joint legal custody” where both parents have a role in making decisions for the child, or “sole legal custody” where one parent is ultimately responsible for making decisions in the child’s best interest. Custody will not be given to a parent as a reward or deprived from a parent as a punishment.

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4. What are some of the child support obligations?

Normally the party receiving visitation will be called upon to contribute to the support of the minor child. This could be an obligation of the mother, the father, or both, if a third person has custody of the child. The court is guided by the needs of the child and the ability of the supporting parent or parents to pay.

The use of the state child support guidelines provides an amount of child support that is presumed to be correct, but the court may deviate from these guidelines in appropriate circumstances. The award is subject to change so long as the obligation to support remains. The child support amount may be increased or decreased if a material change occurs in the circumstances of either or both of the parents or of the child.

5. Who determines child visitation issues?

The court determines custody schedules based on the best interest of the child.  The schedule will normally give both parents frequent and continuing contact unless something different is warranted.  Normally, a parent who is relocating must give 30 days advance written notice to the court and  other parent.

6. What is required to obtain modification to a court order?

Usually a parent seeking modification to a court order has the burden of proving first, a change in circumstances has occurred since the last order was entered, and second, that a change in custody or visitation would be in the best interests of the child.  Normally the parent must give the court and other party written notice of their intended relocation and new address 30 days prior to the move.  The court will make a determination based on multiple factors.  If the parent moves without the proper notifications, there could be trouble.

7. What is your fee structure?

We handle cases on a flat fee or hourly basis depending on the complexity of your case. We offer initial consultations at a reduced hourly rate. At the end of the consultation, we can determine the appropriate fee structure for your case, and you can evaluate our services and decide if you want to hire us. We accept all major credit cards to assist with payment.

 Your Next Step:

Contact us today  – We’re ready to help.

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We have three offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra (Across from Food Lion), and Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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