What Every Woman Needs to Know Child Custody Survival Guide

By Sheera Herrell, B. Caitlin Walters and Katherine Wilcox Carter

When things don't work out between you and the father of your children, there are a lot of loose ends. Whether your separation is part of an underlying divorce or not, custody raises it's own unique issues. Beyond child support is custody and visitation, health care, and the day to day decisions you have to make to keep your kids happy and healthy.

There’s nothing much scarier for a mom than the possibility of a custody case, and they can come up in all sorts of different ways. Maybe your custody case is part of an ongoing divorce case. It could also be a standalone case—if you and your husband aren’t ready to get a divorce yet but still need custody determined, or if you and your child’s father never married. It’s also possible that yours is a modification. If custody has been determined before, you could be going back to court to determine custody, visitation, or support based on your changed circumstances. Even if you don’t think that your child’s father will fight you for custody, it’s a good idea to get information about what you may find yourself facing. Custody cases are complicated, and they can look very different depending on the issues in your particular case. Still, you want to begin to prepare, and to learn whatever it is you need to know to make sure that you’re prepared to put your best foot forward.

What’s the best way to learn about custody cases in Virginia?

Request a copy of our free book, “The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide.” It was written by Kristen Hofheimer, and it will guide you through court battles, custody evaluations, guardians ad litem, opposing counsel, and judges—and it can offer you personal insight about what to do if your case presents unique issues to the courts. In “The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide”, you’ll learn:  
  • All about the 10 critical statutory factors that the court MUST consider (and you must address) in your custody case;
  • How support, custody, and visitation are handled in divorce cases in the circuit court, and how support, custody, and visitation are handled in stand alone cases in the juvenile and domestic relations district court when no divorce action is pending;
  • How custody orders are entered and modified;
  • How different special issues (like breastfeeding, same-sex relationships, homeschooling, abuse, relocation, and special needs children) affect custody determinations;
  • About different alternatives to litigation that can help you avoid having a knock down drag out fight in court;
  • How to work with your attorney, guardian ad litem, and custody evaluator on your case;
  • What you need to know if you choose to represent yourself, and what to expect in a custody case.
When you request a copy of our custody book, we’ll send it to the email address you provide right away. If you live in our immediate area, you’ll also receive an email asking for your address and other information so that we can get a hard copy in the mail to you.

Why should I read your custody book for Virginia moms?

There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s hard to tell what you can trust from what’s just junk.  And you need to know--there's an awful lot at stake in a custody case!  You want to make sure you have the most up to date, Virginia specific information possible—and that’s exactly what we can provide. Our divorce book was written specifically by Kristen Hofheimer, the managing partner of the law firm--and experienced Virginia custody law attorney.  The book gives you all the information you'll need, and it's up to date, it’s Virginia specific, and it’s full of the type of information you need to begin to plan your next steps. It’s also written specifically for women, by a woman—something you won’t find anywhere else.

How quickly will I receive my copy of the Woman's Custody Survival Guide?

Once you fill out our easy online form, you’ll receive an electronic copy of the custody book in minutes. You can print it out or read it directly on your computer—it’s entirely up to you! Then, if you live in our immediate area, you’ll receive another email asking you for your address. If you fill it out (it’s totally up to you), we’ll ship you (free of charge) a hard copy of the custody book, so that you can write in the margins, highlight key passages, and easily read and re-read parts.

I want more information about custody cases in Virginia. Where else should I look?

A good question! If you still want more information after you’ve read the book, consider signing up for our custody e-course. After you receive your email with the electronic version of the custody book attached, you’ll also be asked whether you’d like to sign up for our custody e-course. It’s an email web course, written and created for you by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia custody attorneys, that goes into more detail about how Virginia law works in custody cases--when they are part of underlying divorce cases, and when they're just custody cases. It’s a great way to learn a little more about Virginia law and child custody! Want to ask questions directly to an attorney? Consider attending our Custody Bootcamp for Moms seminar. We teach it quarterly in Virginia Beach, and each seminar is taught by one of our attorneys—so you can ask your questions directly. It isn't just a quick informational session, though.  Custody Bootcamp for Moms is an intense, all day custody seminar designed to teach Virginia moms what they need to know to represent themselves in custody cases at the juvenile court level.  It goes into a LOT of detail, so you can be sure that, when you leave Custody Bootcamp for Moms, you'll understand the ins and outs of Virginia custody law.  For more information about our custody seminar, or to register, just click here.

I’m afraid to give you my contact information, even though I really want the custody book.

We understand how you’re feeling, and know that this is a really vulnerable time. If your husband has access to your email account, consider setting up a new gmail account by clicking here.  We never sell your contact information, or contact you in any unexpected way. If you elect to participate in the divorce e-course, for example, you’ll receive extra emails; if you don’t, though, we’ll stop emailing. We’ll keep your contact information private. If you want a hard copy of our custody book, but don’t want it sent to your home, send it to a friend or neighbor’s house (or even your work address) instead. We’ll send it in a plain manila envelope, with no return label or anything that identifies the contents. We take your privacy very seriously.

I’m ready to order my copy now. Where do I go?

Just click here, fill out the form, and you’ll receive your e copy of our custody book right away! It’s a great choice, and the best way to get up to date, Virginia specific divorce and custody information. For more information, or to go ahead and schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.