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.
Yet, disagreements are bound to happen when legal guardianship is shared, and when they do, the custodial guardian has the final say on decisions.
The parent’s custody order will include a visitation schedule stating which guardian will receive weekend, holiday and summer visitation. A very well detailed guardianship order can help prevent arguments in the future by resolving guardianship issues before they come up. Some guardianship orders will put limitations on one parent’s time with the minor. Although Virginia law allows each guardian to a minimum of time with the juvenile of at least one weeknight visit per week, a court can limit a parent’s time with the minor through supervised visitation.
A judge can rule supervised visitation when one guardian presents a danger to the minor’s safety. A supervised visitation order will choose someone to supervise all visits between the guardian and juvenile. The visits can take place at the supervisor’s home or at a certain facility. The guardian receiving supervised visitation will be held responsible for all costs related to the supervised visits. Most of the time, permanent supervised visitation orders are rare. A judge may set a time period for a supervision order.
In deciding guardianship, the court shall give consideration to the best interests of the child. The court shall assure minor children of frequent contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourage guardians to share in the responsibilities of raising their children.
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.
A judge in Virginia doesn’t need to give equal importance to the factors above, but a judge should examine all the statutory factors listed. Each family is distinctive and the guardianship arrangement that best serves the child’s needs will be based on the family’s overall situation.
If you need a Virginia Child Custody lawyer to help you with your Child Custody case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child Custody attorneys can help you. C