If you are a parent who has recently divorced or split with your partner, you’ll have to go to court to establish custody. Understanding Virginia’s child custody laws can help prepare you.
What are the types of child custody in Virginia?
Virginia courts will always consider what’s in the child’s best interests when deciding custody. There are three main types of child custody available in the state.
Joint legal custody is a common option. It gives both parents equal rights to make decisions on the child’s behalf regardless of where the child lives.
Joint physical custody is a custody plan that gives both parents the right to share custody and care of the child. With this arrangement, the parents alternate the time when they each have their time with their child. The child might spend a few days with one parent at their home and then the remaining days of that week with the other at their home. Then, the parents alternate their custody time the following week.
Sole custody is a type of arrangement that gives one parent custody of the child and the ability to make all decisions on behalf of the child. Meanwhile, the non-custodial parent can request visitation.
How is custody determined?
Parents are encouraged to work together to come up with a plan for custody. Keeping good, open lines of communication and working together can benefit your child. If you are able to come up with your own child custody plan, the court will take it into consideration. Judges are open to agreeing to plans devised jointly by parents.
The judge will take factors like the child’s age, needs, relationship with either parent and more into account when making a child custody decision. They also consider health, roles played by the parents, willingness to keep a close relationship with the child and whether a history of abuse exists.
Working together is often the best option for parents when child custody is to be determined.