Types of Custody in Virginia
There are several different types of custody applicable to caring for a child. Sole custody is when one parent gets sole custody of the child. This means that they make all of the decisions regarding the child. With joint custody, both parents assume responsibility and take part in making decisions that affect the child. Shared custody is when each parent has had physical custody of the child for over 90 days. The primary custodian will receive less support than the regular child support guidelines in the state. Split custody is when each parent has primary or sole custody of one or more of the children. In this arrangement, a parent is a custodial parent to the children in that parent’s family and is a noncustodial parent to the children in the other’s family. Divided custody is when the child lives with each parent alternately for specific periods of time, such as when the time is divided during the week or on weekends when a child visits one parent then the other per agreed times.
How Custody is Determined
In Virginia, the courts use many factors to determine custody. The first is status quo, this means that if the child already is comfortable in one parent’s home, they have an upper hand to the custodial situation. The judge will also hear what each parent is doing for maintaining and managing the day-to-day events of the child. The parent-child relationship will be considered as well, such as how well the child gets along with each parent. The court will look at both parents to determine who is more likely to co-parent. If one side is trying to destroy the other parent’s relationship with the child, it isn’t likely they will be granted primary custody. The courts are very sensitive when it comes to these issues and does want to produce the best results for the child at any age of the child’s development. The preference of the child may be considered if the child is old enough to make this type of contribution towards the determination of where he or she will live. If there is a history of violent or abusive behavior, this may affect custody too, and an abusive parent may be denied or permanently be told he or she has no contact going forward with the child or other children in the home.
Custody Modification & Visitation
These issues change over time especially when parties remarry or priorities change. Modification can occur when there has been a change in circumstances and / or if it is in the best interest of the child for the arrangements to change. This can include getting a new job with a new schedule, substance abuse, criminal conviction or any other reason that may affect a child. These cases can be complex, and it is critical that you get an attorney who is versed in the myriad of laws affecting child custody today in your area. Our law office is able to help you and consult with you regarding the specifics of your case, and it will be the most important factor that you can contribute to the safety and well-being of any children affected by these child custody agreements.