How custody will work can be a complicated matter. The most important think to understand is that if you can agree on a custody arrangement where both parents are happy this is the best solution. When parents cannot agree the matter sometimes ends up in court.
When A Court Decides Custody
Most people interpret the law to allow both parents of a child have equal rights to physical and legal custody of a child. While many would say Virginia law gives no preference to either parent, there is a preference which is based on the child’s “best interest”. The preference is based on time. The court general sees continuity/stability of the child’s schedule as a goal. While a separation/divorce can mean many changes to a child like new home, new school, new friends, new doctor’s, etc. determining what is closest to stability.
A parent with a is history of violence or abuse against a family member will not be given equal consideration.
A court deciding custody may order:
- sole or joint (shared) physical custody (who the child lives with);
- sole or joint (shared) legal custody (who makes decisions about the child)
- Visitation (or parenting time) with a parent who does not have physical custody, or with others
If the court orders sole physical custody to one parent the other parent can petition for parenting time (visitation).
Don’t take a chance on losing your parental rights. Call Merna Law’s experience custody attorneys to help you secure your future with your children. Call 800-662-8813.