Child Custody Lawyers in VirginiaOne of the most challenging aspects of a divorce case is how your children will be affected. While it is impossible to completely protect a child from the divorce process, the best interests of every young person are paramount in all Virginia child custody cases. It is necessary to have solid resolution about who is legally authorized to make decisions concerning your child’s well-being. And, of course, how much time a child will spend with each parent is a question that must be carefully weighed and determined. In Virginia, all child custody and visitation decisions are governed by the “best interests of the child” statute in which the court considers factors such as the age and condition of the child and each parent, the relationship between each parent and each child, the needs of the child, the role of each parent in upbringing and caring for the child, reasonable preference of the child, and more. An experienced Virginia child custody lawyer can support your efforts to create a child custody arrangement that serves your interests and those of your children.
Types of VA Child Custody ArrangementsIn a Virginia divorce there are generally two areas of custody to be addressed. Legal custody is the right to make life decisions on behalf of a child. Typically, these decisions are made in important areas such as medical care, education and religious training. Legal custody may be joint or sole. If parents have been awarded joint legal custody, such decisions must be shared unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Physical custody is the right to the child’s presence. It refers to where a child lives and who has responsibility for supervising the child at a specific time. Time spent with the non-custodial parent is often referred to as “visitation.” There are subsections that fall beneath legal custody and physical custody:
- Joint legal custody is common in Virginia divorce cases. In this situation, both parents are given equal authority regarding important decisions that affect their child’s life.
- Sole legal custody, a less common arrangement, grants one parent complete say over decisions related to the child. Contrary to popular belief, there is no presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother.