Skip to main content
(866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation (866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation

Washington DC Child Custody Lawyer

Washington DC Child Custody Lawyer

The decision to get a divorce is difficult, but the process immediately afterward is even more emotionally taxing, confusing, and complex. One of the most common reasons why a divorce is contested is because of children and determining custody. Child custody can be incredibly complicated, and the best investment you can make in your future, and the well-being of your kids, is hiring a high-caliber Washington DC child custody lawyer to represent you.

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we understand the potential ramification of your custody case and the effect that it can have on your children. Allow us to take it from here on out. With one of our experienced custody attorneys by your side, you will have a compassionate, vigorous, and relentless advocate for your child’s best interests.

Why Choose Petrelli Previtera, LLC

  • We strive to bring clarity out of every chaotic custody case we handle.
  • We listen hard. We work even harder.
  • We know that the most important custody case is yours. Rest assured that your case will never be shuffled to the bottom of the pile. Our Washington DC child custody lawyers constantly remain vigilant, working hard to move your case forward, but never rushing to settle for less than you what you truly deserve.
  • Our lawyers are top-rated.
  • We put clients first. No matter what.

Your children deserve a home where they’re cared for and loved: YOURS. Contact us today at (215) 977-4547 to get started with your legal custody proceedings.

Putting Your Needs First

Custody cases can be very difficult, and they can get really messy. You don’t have to go through all that alone. At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we promise to fight for custody on your behalf, putting your needs and concerns first throughout.

Many parents who seek legal help for their child custody issues get frustrated quickly. They feel like no one will listen to them about their problems. That doesn’t happen at Petrelli Previtera, LLC. Our compassionate legal professionals want to hear your story because we are on your side. A full understanding of what’s at stake and what’s important to you helps us as we represent you in your D.C. child custody case.

Once we listen to your story, we will craft a personalized legal strategy just for you. We believe that no two custody cases are the same. We will treat yours with the attention, dexterity, and professionalism it deserves. It all starts with a call!

Washington DC Child Custody Laws: Overview

Child custody laws vary from one state to the next, even if the variations are slight. While some laws might be similar, Washington DC custody guidelines are somewhat different from those in other states. As such, it’s important to get acquainted with these laws before setting your custody hearing in motion.

The “Child’s Best Interests” Are a Key Factor When Deciding Custody

Typically, a family law judge in D.C. will determine custody based on what they believe is in the child’s best interest. They will weigh several factors into making this determination, all of which are found in the Code of the District of Columbia 16-914. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Wishes of both parents as to the child’s custody
  • The preferences of the child (where applicable)
  • The age and number of children in question
  • The capability of each parent to share the financial responsibilities of joint custody
  • Whether or not there is a history of violence within the family
  • The sincerity of the requests for custody made by each parent
  • The physical and mental health of all parties involved
  • The capability of the parents to communicate, cooperate, and reach amicable decisions affecting the child’s well-being
  • The potential disruption of the child’s social and school life

During this process, a D.C. judge may ask both parents to separately submit parenting plans that detail what they each envision as being the ideal final outcome for their family.

This individual plan will likely include a legal custody arrangement, proposals for a visitation schedule, and a method of communication between the parents.

The judge will then analyze these plans before determining the final outcome of the custody case. If you and the other parent are in agreement on how you’d like the parenting plan to be, you might submit it together as one. The judge will then assess that plan and likely approve it.

Types of Custody Recognized in Washington DC

The types of custody that the court can award are mainly two:

Legal custody means legal responsibility for the child. Here, either one of you is allowed to make major life decisions for a minor, including education, religious affiliation, and schooling.

Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements and visitation schedule. Overall, this type of custody pertains to parents having physical responsibility for the child’s daily care.

Joint Custody Preference

The District of Columbia law expresses a rebuttable preference for parents to share joint custody as it deems that to be in the child’s best interests. However, joint custody doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50 shared physical and legal custody. It means working out the terms of the joint custody in a way that most benefits the child.

Child abuse, parental kidnapping, child neglect, and domestic violence can shift the joint custody presumption away from the parent committing the offense.

Hiring a qualified Washington DC child custody attorney can go a long way in earning a favorable custody decision. It’s never too late to bring Petrelli Previtera, LLC in on your case.

Washington DC Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. I Recently Agreed to a Joint Custody Arrangement. Can I Make Decisions About Our Child Without Consulting the Other Parent?

No. D.C. joint custody law states that parents have equal decision-making rights to a minor child. You cannot make decisions about a common child without bringing the other party on board. This means both parents decide religion, schooling, and medical care.

2. How are the Visitation Orders in D.C.?

In cases where parents can’t agree on a viable visitation arrangement, a D.C. judge will devise a visitation plan based on the child’s best interests.

This plan typically entails when and where visits with the child will take place. However, your visitation schedule may vary during the summer, family vacations, and school vacations.

Under a D.C. visitation schedule, the noncustodial parent will often receive extended visits during the summer and school breaks.

3. Is It Possible to Modify Custody Arrangements in D.C.?

A judge can modify your custody order if there has been a material change in the circumstances that affect your child’s best interests.

4. Can the Child’s Preference Really Come into Play When Determining Custody?

Yes. There’s no minimum age when a judge must listen to a child’s opinion. The D.C. court will listen to a child who is old-enough to express a well-reasoned preference. In most cases, a child who is as young as 8 can express a preference in a custody case.

The firm’s DC office law office serves all eight wards in DC and surrounding counties in Maryland.

Our office is located at:
1717 K Street NW, Suite 900
Washington DC 20006
(202) 519-0366

Get Prestigious Legal Support In Your Corner

In a high-stake legal situation like custody, you want a Washington DC family lawyer who is backed by years of experience and prestigious recognition. You want an attorney who’s rated highly by clients, recommended by prestigious law magazines, and honored by a nationally recognized peer rating service. If you want to find all that in one lawyer, look no further than Petrelli Previtera, LLC.

As an honoree of the prestigious Inc.5000 list, our firm makes your D.C. child custody case our top priority. Let us help you with all the nuances of child custody—from drafting a well-thought-out parenting plan to offering you insights on a workable visitation schedule.

We Have All The Answers You’re Looking For

What makes us different from other family law attorneys is our personalized approach and the fact that we help our clients remember what’s important: their well-being and their children’s future. If you keep dwelling on the past, living in a constant state of stress, or forgetting to take care of yourself, how do you expect to take care of your children?

By timely answering all of your tough custody questions, building a solid foundation for your case, and constantly reminding you to chin up, we will do our best to arrive at the resolution you’re hoping for. Contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC to get answers to all and any of your questions regarding D.C. child custody.

Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.