How is child custody determined in Virginia? Who will get custody of my child?
In child guardianship cases, a judge decides on legal and physical care. Legal care is the ability to decide and make significant decisions that can affect your child such as schooling, medical care and religious upbringing. If a parent has physical care, this means that the child is legally allowed to live with this parent. In the state of Virginia, a judge will take into consideration a number of things before ruling in favour of either parents. These include:
- Age, mental and physical state of the minor;
- Mental and Physical condition of each parent;
- The nature of the relationship between the minor and both parents; and
- Any history of mental or physical abuse in the family.
What is Joint Legal Custody?
Joint legal care means that both caretakers have a say in how the minor is raised regardless to who the minor is living with. caretakers must come to an agreement on issues such as those related to religion or education.
What is Sole Custody in accordance to the laws of Virginia?
Sole care means that only one caretaker has physical care of the minor and the authority to make decisions on their behalf.
The non-custodial caretaker has no say in any decisions that may affect the minor’s upbringing but may have certain visitation rights.
Can a grandparent gain custody to his/her grandparents?
If both caretakers are deemed unfit for guardianship in the state of Virginia and it is in the minor’s best interest, a grandparent may be granted care of the minor. Grandparents may request visitation but is required to inform the custodial caretaker.
Does either parent pay child support if they have joint legal custody?
In Virginia, both caretakers are obligated by law to pay juvenile maintenance. The amount of juvenile maintenance paid by a caretaker depends on their overall income. juvenile maintenance includes medical care, food, clothing, housing etc.
Can a custodial parent prohibit visitation if child support is unpaid?
No. Child support and visitation are separate issues and are dealt with in the court separately. A parent cannot refuse to allow visitation if juvenile maintenance is unpaid and similarly a parent cannot withhold paying juvenile maintenance if the custodial parent refuses to allow visitation.
Do mothers always win in sole custody cases?
No. There are no laws in Virginia that favour either parent when ruling for guardianship. Each case is studied carefully by the judge and a decision is made based on the minor’s best interest.
Can custody rulings be appealed in Virginia?
In order to appeal a guardianship ruling, there must be a significant change in circumstances where adjusting guardianship would be in the juvenile’s best interest.
Is it necessary that my child testifies in a Virginian court?
No. In the case of a no-fault (uncontested) divorce, where both parties have settled on issues involving the minor with little or no problems, there is no need for a minor to appear in court. However, if parents cannot come to an agreement on issues concerning the child, he/she may be asked to testify in court in order to rule in their best interest.