If I have moved away from the house where my spouse and children currently live, will this hurt my chances of gaining custody?
The judge will take into consideration the role that each parent has played in the child’s life, and the willingness of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child.1 If you have moved away from your child for a significant period of time, it may affect how the judge views these two factors.
However, it is important to remember that a judge will take into account a history of family abuse and sexual abuse.2 Therefore, if you have moved away to escape abuse, you can explain to the judge why it was necessary for you to leave the home where your child currently lives. You may strongly consider getting a lawyer in this situation. Go to VA Finding a Lawyer for more information.
1 Va. Code § 20-124.3(5) & (7)
2 Va. Code § 20-124.3(9)