THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRICO COUNTY John Marshall, Judge
Michael P. Tittermary (Brice E. Lambert, Guardian ad litem
for the minor child; The Witmeyer Law Firm, PLC; Lambert
& Associates, on brief), for appellant.
B. Stone (Janus & Stone, P.C., on brief), for appellee
Christina Price. 
D. Whitehead (Kelly B. St. Clair; Kelly B. St. Clair, PLLC,
on brief), for appellee Walter Ryan Matzuk.
Present: Judges Russell, Malveaux and Senior Judge Clements
Argued at Richmond, Virginia
G. RUSSELL, JR., JUDGE
Bedell appeals an order of the circuit court awarding primary
physical custody of a minor child to appellee Christina
Price, the child's mother; joint legal custody of the
child to all three parties; and visitation to appellee Walter
Matzuk. Bedell specifically challenges the circuit
court's finding that Matzuk is a parent of the child and
its awarding legal custody and visitation to Matzuk on that
basis. For the reasons that follow, we reverse
the judgment of the circuit court and remand for further
appeal, we view the evidence 'in the light most favorable
to the prevailing party below and its evidence is afforded
all reasonable inferences fairly deducible
therefrom.'" Bristol Dep't of Soc. Servs. v.
Welch, 64 Va.App. 34, 40 (2014) (quoting Logan v.
Fairfax Cnty. Dep't of Human Dev., 13 Va.App. 123,
gave birth to a child on April 11, 2012. In the time period
surrounding the child's conception, Price was engaging in
sexual relations with both Bedell and Matzuk. She informed
each of them that there was a chance he was the father. With
all parties knowing that either Bedell or Matzuk could be the
biological father, Matzuk agreed to be the child's
father. Matzuk signed an acknowledgement of paternity
pursuant to Code § 20-49.1(B)(2), and the child was
given Matzuk's name. In signing the acknowledgement,
Matzuk attested that he was the biological father of the
child. Bedell testified that he did not seek a DNA test at
the time because he did not have access to the child and
"once I saw [Price and Matzuk] back together, I figured
that there [had been] a test."
moved in with Matzuk when she was about six months pregnant
and, after the child was born, Matzuk was involved in the
care of the child. Price and Matzuk had a falling out in
2013, and Price moved out for several months, but returned.
She permanently left the residence in 2014, but continued to
see Matzuk and allow the child to spend time with him. When
Price left in 2013, she filed petitions to determine custody
and visitation, but withdrew them. In November 2014, Price
filed new petitions, commencing the instant proceedings.
the petitions were pending, Price and Matzuk created their
own custody and visitation schedule, splitting time
"50/50" and sharing parenting responsibilities. The
child remained on Matzuk's insurance, and Matzuk's
mother was actively engaged in raising the child. Matzuk
continued to contribute financial support for the child, and
the child continued to call Matzuk "daddy."
an argument in early 2015, Price decided she wanted to know
for certain who was the father of her child, so she resumed
contact with Bedell, who had never met the child, to have a
DNA test performed. The test revealed that Bedell was the
child's biological father, and thereafter "[Bedell]
was pretty much over [at Price's] house every time"
she had custody of the child. Price and Bedell started living
together in early summer 2016. By the time of trial, the
child was referring to Bedell as "Bedell,"
"daddy Bedell" or also just "dad."
consulting Matzuk, Price, based on the DNA test results,
sought to have the Division of Vital Records issue a new
birth certificate for the child that named Bedell as the
father. Such a certificate was issued on May 9,
asked at trial about Matzuk's role going forward, Price
testified, "I believe [my child] and Mr. Matzuk keeping
a relationship would be best with visitation . . . just
enough time for them to keep a relationship." She stated
that she was unaware of how Matzuk parents the child and
asserted her belief that the child and Matzuk's mother
"ha[d] a strong relationship." When he testified,
Bedell "acknowledge[d] that there is a connection, a
bond there[, ]" between the child and Matzuk and
suggested that visitation "every other weekend or maybe
one weekend every three weeks" might ...