Separation and divorce can cause enough upheaval in a family’s life already. But one important question arises for both spouses involved in a divorce: “Can I keep custody of our children?” In this blog, we will explore the answers to that difficult question. Just what types of child custody are there in Virginia? Please read on to learn more.
What Is Legal Custody?
Legal custody is based upon who can make decisions for the overall care of the child. Such decisions can involve factors like education, healthcare, religious matters, and so on. The courts typically do not order sole legal custody to only one parent in Virginia.
What Does Sole Legal Custody Mean in Virginia?
What exactly does sole legal custody mean, under Virginia law? By the terms of Virginia Code 20-124.1, it means that only one person “retains responsibility for the care and control of a child and has primary authority to make decisions concerning the child.” In other words, one of the spouses holds the duty of looking after their child’s best interests. That being said, Virginia courts are also obligated to act in the best interests of the child or children.
Some circumstances under which this type of custody is awarded are the result of strife amongst the family, such as when:
- The parents are unwilling or unable to cooperate or communicate with each other.
- One parent constantly engages in what is known as “parental alienation”.
- There has been established child abuse by one of the parents.
- Or, when the visitation rights and access to the child have been unreasonably restricted by one parent towards the other.
What Does Joint Legal Custody Mean in Virginia?
In Virginia, joint child custody means that both parents share the responsibilities of caring for their children. They both hold authority over decision-making, even if the child primarily lives with one of the parents.
What is Physical Custody?
Physical custody means who the child lives with. Factors the Court uses to determine physical custody are who would be living in the home with the child. Physical custody also is based upon the daily care of the children. Thus, when it comes to physical custody, the parent who is considered the “primary caregiver” holds an advantage in court. Stability is highly favored by the courts, and any potential disruption is a circumstance to be avoided.
Get Representation from The Carlberg Law Firm Today
Ready to tackle your legal issues head on? The Carlberg Law Firm provides all the experience and knowledge of a larger firm with the personal attention and commitment of a smaller firm. We represent individuals from both the District of Columbia and Virginia, and our attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of family law.
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