In Virginia, if only a child custody petition is being filed, then the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court has the authority to deal with child custody cases and deems all important facts about the relationship between the child and the parents crucial. The judge will take into account the health of the parents, financial resources, the residence of parents, age, a gender of the child and the child’s preference as well. The primary purpose of the court in the child custody case is to ensure constant contact between the child and the parent. Depending on these factors, the court will award joint or sole legal custody.
In Virginia, the law always favors the well-being of the child in a custody lawsuit. So the parents need to work out the parenting plan in accordance with that.
When filing for child custody in VA, the court will consider the following factors:
- Which of the parent the child prefers but for this the child must be mature to take a decision. Generally, children over 12 years are given an opportunity to decide;
- The age and mental health of the child are also very important. The court will assign custody based on the child’s developmental needs;
- The age and mental health of the parents;
- The bonding between the child and parent;
- Parents’ knowledge of the child’s needs and capability to provide it;
- Parents’ potential parental role in the upbringing the child;
- Whether parents are enthusiastic and capable of allowing the child to keep up a close and continuous relationship with the other parent;
- Willingness and ability of parents to work out arguments;
- History of domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, or drug abuse; and
- Any other factor that will affect the child’s well-being.
Child custody implies that a parent must have the physical and legal responsibility of a minor child. Physical custody is the residence of the custodial parents where the child will live. Legal custody is the parent’s duty of taking care of the child and making decisions on educational or medical needs. A Virginia court has jurisdiction over child custody cases if the child resides in the state and at least one of the parents’ lives or works in Virginia, or if the child has lived in the state for the last six months and had to move out because the custodial parent moved out of this state. In Virginia, a parent intending to relocate must give notice at least 30 days in advance of the intention relocate. The parent relocating must provide the new address to the other parent unless the court determines otherwise.
To find evidence on parental unfitness due to abuse, negligence or drug addiction, the court will examine both parents’ conduct throughout the marriage and the parent’s conduct towards the child. A Virginia family court may decline child custody to one parent, if:
One of the parents has committed murder, intentional manslaughter, or attempted felony; or has committed a felony sexual assault or felony assault that resulted in a grave injury, if the victim was a child of the parent or a child with whom the parent lived in the past.
If you want your child to be with you, all you need to do is to file for child custody in VA. Never take your child custody case easy, as it will have a big influence in your life if the custody goes to the other parent. Therefore, you will need the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Mr. Sris has helped numerous clients with filing for child custody in VA.