5 Things to Know Before Filing for Custody in Virginia Fairfax Lawyer

When filing for custody, parents should understand the terms and conditions of the different laws related to child custody and familiarize themselves with their case in order to understand why a judge may or may not grant guardianship.

The following are the most important things a person should be familiar with before filing for guardianship in Virginia.

Types of Custody

  • Joint Custody

    • When both parents share care of the minor. There are two types of joint care.
      • Joint Legal Custody: both parents share the right to make important decisions that can impact the minor (e.g. education, religion, healthcare) regardless of who the minor resides with.
      • Joint Physical Custody: minor is cared for and resides with both parents based on a set timetable.
  • Sole Custody

    • One parent has the complete legal right to full physical care and the right to make important decisions involving the minor. The Commonwealth of Virginia seldom grants sole care to a parent unless the other parent is deemed unfit to care for the minor.

Conditions for Sole Custody in Virginia

The state of Virginia rarely grants sole care to a guardian however under specific circumstances, it may be granted for the benefit of the minor. Sole care may be granted if communication between both caretakers has been completely terminated meaning they cannot agree on any matters involving the minor. Sole care has also been granted in cases where drug addiction, kiddie abuse, and parental alienation are present.

The Custody Hearing in Virginia

A judge takes many aspects into consideration before ruling on a care hearing. Since the main goal is to rule in the juvenile’s best interest, the relationship of the juvenile with either guardian is examined. Any history of juvenile abuse is analyzed and the physical and mental state of each guardian is observed. A juvenile is not required to testify at a trial if both caretakers can come to a civil agreement on care. However, in many contested divorces, children may be called to the stand to ensure that their opinions are heard and considered before ruling in favour of either caretaker.

Child Support

Juvenile support is a sum of money that is paid by caretakers to cover the needs of a juvenile after a separation or divorce as defined in accordance to the laws of Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires both caretakers to pay a certain amount of juvenile support depending on their overall income. A custodial caretaker is the only one allowed to demand juvenile support as it is assumed that they already pay expenses that involve the child.


A non-custodial caretaker usually has the legal right to visitation. A custodial caretaker is prohibited from refusing visitation if the non-custodial caretaker does not pay child support and in the same way a caretaker cannot refrain from paying child support if they have been declined visitation. If caretakers cannot come to terms on a schedule for visitation, a judge may assign one for them. In Virginia, it is rare that a caretaker is banned from communicating with their child unless it is proved to be in the child’s best interest.

If you need a Virginia Child Custody lawyer to help you with your minor guardianship case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child care attorneys can help you. C

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