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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Dos and Don’ts During a Child Custody Dispute


When you and your child’s other parent are fighting for custody, life cannot necessarily go on as normal. How you behave on a normal basis needs to be adjusted to best fit with the circumstances, particularly if you are attempting to receive full custody. While you cannot – and should not – change everything about yourself and your life, there are improvements you can make that make an impression on the Court or at least limits the other parent’s ammunition against you.

During a child custody dispute, you should:

  • Follow the child custody and support order currently in place
  • Communicate politely with the other parent
  • Avoid conversations or situations in which you know a confrontation could arise
  • Keep custody exchanges brief, and if necessary, at a neutral location
  • Do not use your child as messengers between you and the other parent
  • If you are first aware of school or extracurricular activity events, notify the other parent as soon as possible
  • Do not bad mouth the other parent to your child or on social media
  • Do not vent about the custody matter on social media
  • Do not involve a new romantic partner in your child’s life or the custody situation

Improve Your Situation as Much as Possible

If you want to obtain all or a majority of custody for your child, you will need to be able to show the judge that you provide a stable, healthy, safe, and nurturing environment for your child. This includes a home that is suitable to your child’s needs, including a place to sleep, do homework, and play. It is OK to live with other people, however, your family members, friends, or roommates can also come under the court’s scrutiny. In addition to a providing a home for your child, you will need to show that you are able to support yourself and your son or daughter financially. You should be able to show that you are working or financially independent. If you work, you should also have stable child care arrangements through a family member, nanny, daycare, or school.

If you are already confident in what you provide for your child, then instead of focusing on improvements, concentrate on maintaining stability for your son or daughter.

Understand How Custody is Determined

When you are facing a custody battle in court, you must understand that the judge is going to look at the best interests of the child to determine which parent should have the most physical and legal custody. The judge will try to arrange a custody schedule that will most benefit the child’s current and future needs, which usually involves seeing both parents as much as possible unless there are specific reasons why one parent should not have legal or physical custody.

Contact a Leesburg Child Custody Lawyer for Help

If you are trying to gain custody of your child and want to know what you can do to improve your chances, contact us at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC by calling 703-997-4982. Our Leesburg attorneys are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.



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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!