In the state of Virginia, the court does not give preference to either parent.
After a divorce, many factors will be considered before the court decides on custody arrangements, both the mother and father will be assessed equally and an agreement will be based on the best interests of the child or children.
The best interest of the child or children will be evaluated on a series of factors including:
- The age, physical or mental health of both parents.
- The relationship between the minor and the parent, specifically the involvement of each parent in the minor’s life and the ability to meet the minor’s both emotional and physical needs.
- The ability of each parent to support the minor’s relationship with the other parent
- The willingness of each parent to maintain a positive relationship with the minor and to resolve any potential disputes with the other parent.
If the father can demonstrate through the above factors, that it is within the minor or children’s best interests to remain with him, there is a high chance that he will get full custody.
In the possibility that the mother is absent or not involved in the custody dispute for reasons such as death or imprisonment, a third party such as a relative may try to seek custody of the minor or children over the father. Fortunately, minor guardianship laws in Virginia are in favour of the male caretaker over a third party. This presumption can be overcome by a third party in a few situations, including;
- Where a father has abandoned the child or children.
- If the father is shown to be unfit as a parent.
- If the court finds good reasons to remove the child or children from the male caretaker, for example, if the father unsafe for the children to be around.
If the male caretaker does not apply to any three of these terms, then in the case that a third party fights for guardianship as well, there is a high chance the male caretaker will gain full custody of the child or children.
In order for a male caretaker to gain full custody of his child then he needs to avoid the court deeming him as parentally unfit. Such a finding can be based on evidence that shows the male caretaker has engaged in a misconduct which affects the child, if the father has previously abandoned the child, or if the father has failed to provide for the child’s emotional and physical needs.
The Virginian court may also take into consideration the father’s home environment. In order to gain custody, the father must provide what is considered by the court as a morally supporting home. Virginian courts have found that morally unstable homes are homes where there are issues such as adultery or cruelty.
There aren’t any prescriptive ways to improve the father’s chances of gaining full guardianship in the eyes of the Virginian court. This, however, is where an attorney comes in and how they articulate the father’s situation with the factors the court considers is what may put the father in a good position to be awarded the full custody he seeks.
If the father does win full custody in Virginia, he needs to know that custody agreement may later be modified or terminated. When a child guardianship case is modified or terminated it is usually because the factors that may have favoured the court in coming to the agreement have changed and that the court will determine a different agreement in the present day.
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.