Every parent who is going through a divorce or child custody/visitation proceedings is concerned about the welfare of their child, which parent they will live with and who gets to make decisions regarding their welfare.
In Virginia, there are two forms of custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody
Legal custody of the child is determined by who gets to make important decisions regarding the child’s well being. Physical custody, on the other hand, is determined by with which parent the child will primarily live.
In Virginia, legal custody can be awarded solely to one parent or jointly to both parents. Joint legal custody means that both parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the child and joint authority to make decisions concerning the child. It is very common in Virginia for joint legal custody to be appointed to both parents so they both can be involved in important decisions of their child’s life.
A Court may award joint legal custody to both the parents and award physical custody to one parent, with the other parent receiving visitation with the child. The Court may also decide that the parents can have shared physical custody of the child, where the child will spend a significant amount of time with both parents.
In making the custody determination, the Court has to consider what is in the best interest of the child. In order to determine what is in the best interest of a child, the Court takes various factors into account (outlined by VA Code Section 20-124.3). Factors considered by the court in determining the best interest of the child include: parent’s age, physical and mental health of the parents, age of the child, the existing relationship between each parent and the child, the needs of the child, the role played by each parent in the child’s upbringing and care, the child’s wishes (if of sufficient age, intelligence and maturity) and the ability of each parent to foster a strong relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. The Court also considers the ability of each parent to resolve any dispute regarding the child.
Both legal and physical custody, as well as visitation orders can be modified by showing that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the original determination which warrants a change in custody.
At Khanna Law we successfully help our clients navigate the complicated custody litigation process on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in guiding you, protecting your rights and providing dedicated, intelligent and reliable representation.
To schedule a consultation regarding your child custody case, call 571-766-6860 or email us at email@example.com.