How is child custody determined in Virginia? Who will get custody of my child?
In child custody cases, a judge decides on legal and physical custody. Legal custody 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 custody, 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 child;
- Mental and Physical condition of each parent;
- The nature of the relationship between the child and both parents; and
- Any history of mental or physical abuse in the family.
What is Joint Legal Custody?
Joint legal custody means that both parents have a say in how the child is raised regardless to who the child is living with. Parents 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 custody means that only one parent has physical custody of the child and the authority to make decisions on their behalf.
The non-custodial parent has no say in any decisions that may affect the child’s upbringing but may have certain visitation rights.
Can a grandparent gain custody to his/her grandparents?
If both parents are deemed unfit for custody in the state of Virginia and it is in the child’s best interest, a grandparent may be granted custody of the child. Grandparents may request visitation but is required to inform the custodial parent.
Does either parent pay child support if they have joint legal custody?
In Virginia, both parents are obligated by law to pay child support. The amount of child support paid by a parent depends on their overall income. Child support 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 child support is unpaid and similarly a parent cannot withhold paying child support 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 custody. Each case is studied carefully by the judge and a decision is made based on the child’s best interest.
Can custody rulings be appealed in Virginia?
In order to appeal a custody ruling, there must be a significant change in circumstances where adjusting custody would be in the child’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 child with little or no problems, there is no need for a child 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.
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.