Considerations of Children in Virginia Divorce Cases  

Divorces are complicated because of all the factors included in them, ranging from financial to emotional. However, when they involve children, divorces can become extremely important and stressful.

Every parent wants to ensure that they spend as much time as they can with their children and to make sure that their child is financially supported by both parents. When a couple goes through a divorce in Virginia, they will need to discuss and determine how to move forward with child custody and child support. An experienced Virginia divorce lawyer can guide you through the process of child considerations in Virginia divorce cases.

Child Custody and Support Process

In the state of Virginia, divorce cases that involve children will have a separate trial on the custody track. During that time, the court will handle all decisions regarding custody, visitation, and support.

Generally, the issues are resolved by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (J&DR) Court. However, when there is a divorce pending, the parties can ask that the Circuit court hear the custody and child support issues as well so that everything is resolved in one court.

The first step in any child consideration in Virginia divorce cases is establishing paternity. The general rule is that if the child was conceived during the marriage, the husband is assumed to be the father. If the father denies paternity, it will be up to him to rebut that presumption.

Deciding Custody and Visitation

There are a few different types of custody: sole custody, joint physical custody, and joint legal custody.

  • Sole custody is when one parent has full control over the day-to-day activities of the child and is the parent that the child lives with.
  • Joint physical custody is when both parents share physical custody of the children.
  • Joint legal custody is when both parents share responsibility for the child and the right to make decisions for the child, even if the child lives mostly with one parent.

When deciding which parent is the custodial parent, or the parent with whom the child lives with predominantly, the court will look a number of factors such as:

  • The age and mental and physical health of both parents
  • The age and physical health of the child
  • The role of each parent in the child’s life so far
  • Each parent’s willingness to maintain a close relationship with the child
  • Each parent’s willingness to co-parent with the other parent
  • The needs of the child including their relationships with other family members
  • Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the preference of the child
  • Any history of abuse whether sexual or physical
  • Any other factors the court believes is important

The parent that is not awarded primary custody is entitled to a fair and reasonable amount of visitation. The custodial parent does not have the right to interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights.

Calculating Child Support in Virginia

Another important child consideration in Virginia divorce cases is child support. Child support is paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Basic calculations for child support are based on a chart that looks at the parent’s combined monthly gross income and the number of children involved.

However, this calculation may be deviated from in certain circumstances. If the court does decide to make an award other than the one listed in the chart, it must state its reason for doing so. The main idea is that the support amount is in the best interest of the child and the paying parent has the ability to pay.

Other factors the court may consider are whether there is financial support being provided for other family members, custody arrangements, including the cost of travel, any independent financial resources the child may have, or any special needs the child may have.

Contact a Virginia Child Support and Custody Attorney Today

By speaking to a Virginia child support lawyer, you can understand the numerous factors that may be taken into consideration when calculating child support, custody, and visitation. This may help you receive adequate child support to raise your child or pay the amount you can afford to pay. Child support considerations in Virginia divorce cases are of the utmost importance for you and your child’s future.