In situations where the parents of a child are unmarried, usually, the mother is granted sole physical custody. If the unwed father wants to file for custody, the paternal test must first be taken and presented to the court of the state of Virginia to prove that he is biologically related to the child and the father’s name may then be added to the child’s birth certificate. If the biological father of the child is present during the birth of the child, the father of the child may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity before leaving the hospital.
The name of the juvenile’s father will thenceforth be added to the juvenile’s birth certificate. In situations where the suspected father denies parentage, the mother of the minor may file a Petition to Establish Paternity in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and if the alleged father does not show up to the court or reply to the petition, the judge may declare him the legal father.
The unmarried guardians of the minor in Virginia are free to come up with a parenting schedule that will then be filed with the court. The minor must agree on custody, the amount of visitation, visitation times, the health care of the juvenile, education, religion and potential changes that may occur if either caretaker marries or moves away. However, if the guardians are unable to decide on a plan concerning the matters mentioned above, the court gets involved and a judge will look at the circumstances regarding both guardians and will rule in the best interest of the minor and who has been the main caregiver for the minor, along with factors affecting the minor such as:
- The minor’s age.
- The guardian’s age.
- The physical and mental condition of the minor.
- The physical and mental condition of both guardians that may effect the juvenile’s well being.
- The minor’s physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs and the effect of the presented agreement on the minor’s requirements and development.
- Each guardian’s lifestyle.
- Each guardian’s financial stability.
- The ability and willingness of the guardians to provide food, clothing, safety, and shelter throughout the minor’s life and until the minor becomes independent.
- The connection between each guardian and the juvenile
- The willingness of each parent to keep the child regularly connected with the other parent.
- If physical or sexual abuse has been an issue in the household of either parent.
- The juvenile’s desire and preference, if the court considers the juvenile to be of adequate age and has the ability to express his or her preference.
Nevertheless, unmarried parents may have joint custody of the juvenile, where both parents have the juvenile for an equal amount of time. If sole custody is granted by the court of Virginia to one parent, the non-custodial parent may be obligated by the court to provide child support payment to the custodial parent. However, the parent that is not granted custody of the juvenile may file a visitation petition with the court and a judge may award the parent visitation of his or her juvenile, but only if the judge may see that it is in the best favor of the child.
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.