Want to know what the steps are to gain complete custody of your child in Virginia? You need to know that there are 2 types of custody in Virginia – physical and legal custody. And it can be further classified as sole physical custody and/or sole legal custody.
Virginia Sole Legal Custody
In legal custody, the parent’s ability to make serious decisions for the benefit of the child will be looked into. In physical custody, it will be about the daily maintenance of the child, so the primary physical custody will be awarded to the parent who will be primarily responsible for taking care of the child.
Every custody case can be challenging to handle because the courts have to take into consideration a number of issues while determining what will be the best for the child. Moreover, in the state of Virginia, public policy supports the involvement of both of the parents in the upbringing of the child. In Virginia, custody is defined as the legal obligation for the control and care of a child under the age of 18.
Joint custody is defined as both parents involved in making decisions regarding issues such as education, medical care, and religious training of the child. Also, the child lives with each parent in joint custody and both parents have the same rights to the child even if they aren’t married and even if there is no court order.
If a parent is awarded full custody of the child, they are allowed to make all serious decisions in their child’s life because they have complete physical and legal custody. It is because the child lives with them full time. But if the other parent is not abusive, then the court will grant visitation rights even if there is no full custody. However, these visitations are made by the court and are supervised.
Procedure for Sole Legal Custody Of A Child In Virginia:
In order for a parent to get sole legal custody of a child, if there isn’t already a court order, the parent seeking custody has to petition the Court Services Unit of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for custody. Here you will just need to file the basic information such as where the parent and the child live. But if there is a previous custody order, then the parent has to file a Motion to Amend or Review Order in the same court that issued the custody order. Also, the parent will once again be required to serve the other parent with the necessary legal paperwork.
When this is done, the court makes an appointment for the initial hearing during which there may be a psychological evaluation of both parents, the court orders a compulsory mediation, an appointment of a lawyer for their child or even a provisional custody order. If both the parents cannot reach a settlement regarding child custody, then a hearing for the requesting parent’s petition shall take place anywhere between 1 and 3 months.
You need to know that various factors such as a history of abuse, drug or alcohol problems, violations of a previous court order, having older children among others will influence the judge’s decision in granting complete custody of the child. Therefore, work out the strategies with your child custody attorney in Virginia to get a favorable decision.
Mr. Sris has helped numerous clients with child custody cases in Virginia. C