There are two kinds of custody, physical and legal custody. A parent who has physical custody can live in the same household as the child. The parent with physical custody, also known as the custodial parent, provides the child with necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. Usually, the noncustodial parent must pay child support to the other parent.
A parent who has legal custody has the right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf.
For example, if a parent has legal custody, he/she can decide where a minor goes to school, or which religion will the child be raised into. The majority of the time, parents will share legal guardianship and make decisions together.
In determining the best interests of a child for purposes of deciding guardianship or arrangements to spend time with the minor in Virginia, the judge shall consider the following factors:
- The age, physical and mental state of the minor;
- The age, physical and mental state of each guardian;
- The relationship that exists between each guardian and each juvenile, and considering the positive involvement with the child’s life;
- The necessities of the minor, considering other important relationships of the juvenile, including siblings and friends;
- The role that each guardian has played and will play in the future, in the raising and care of the minor;
- The reasonable choice of the juvenile;
- Any history of abuse or sexual abuse in the family.