Determining a Child’s Best Interest in Virginia Child Custody Cases 

One of the most difficult legal dilemmas an individual can face is dealing with custody and visitation issues regarding their children. Whether the issue has come up from a divorce or in regards to a child that was born to non-married parents, custody must be established in order to determine both custody and visitation. Legally, both parents have equal rights to their child regardless of gender. Therefore, both parents have an equal chance to gain full or primary custody. Determining a child’s best interest in Virginia child custody cases can be difficult. Learn more by contacting a professional Virginia custody attorney.

Types of Custody

Generally, with custody one parent is the custodial parent, or the parent the child predominately lives with. The other parent is known as the non-custodial parent who possesses visitation rights. One type of custody is joint legal custody. With this type of custody both parents, regardless of which parent the child lives with, have equal rights in making legal and medical decisions for the child.

In some cases, both parents may be awarded a joint physical custody agreement where both parents have 50/50 custody. In this situation, the child lives with one parent half of the time and the other parent the other half of the time. Lastly, one parent may have sole custody where they are the parent that mainly takes care of the child and is responsible for the day to day decisions in the child’s life. To learn more about determining a child’s best interest in Virginia child custody cases, contact a skilled Virginia family lawyer.

Factors Used to Determine Custody Agreements

There are ten main factors the court will consider when determining a child’s best interest in Virginia child custody cases. The age, mental condition, and physical condition of the child will certainly be taken into account, while also looking at the fact that the child will grow and have different needs. The needs of the child and other important relationships in the child’s life such as siblings or extended family are also significant. Depending on the age of the child, the court may take into consideration the child’s preference for which parent they want to live with.

Parent Relationship

The court will examine the age, physical and mental condition of both parents when making decisions regarding child custody cases. Each parent’s role and future role in caring for and raising their child, as well as the relationship between each parent and the child will be taken into account as well. This factor will look at any positive influences the parent has on the child and consider if the parent can meet the emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of the child. The likelihood that the parent will help foster a relationship with the other parent in the future is significant as with this factor, the court will look at whether either parent has ever withheld visitation from the other parent before.

The Role of Past Abuse

In determining a custody agreement, Virginia courts will closely examine any type of family abuse, whether it was physical or sexual. If this has happened in the family, then the judge can disregard the factor that looks at if one parent denied visitation. This can be used as a defense against the assertion that a parent wrongfully withheld the child from the other parent when their safety was involved.

How a Virginia Child Custody Attorney Can Help

By speaking to a Virginia County child custody lawyer, you can gain a better understanding of your chances at custody. You and your lawyer can review all of the child custody factors to see what type of custody agreement would work best for your situation. Determining a child’s best interest in child custody is of the utmost importance for their wellbeing. Call a reliable Virginia family attorney today for your initial consultation.