How is child custody determined in Virginia?

Child Custody in Virginia

Child custody (time sharing) is often the most contentious issue between parents who are separating or divorcing. The family law courts throughout Virginia are directed by state law to apply the principle of the Best Interests of the Children in determining an arrangement for child custody and visitation. This is true both in a contested divorce and in an uncontested divorce, as the court will not finalize the action until it is clear that the children will be left in an arrangement that provides for their well-being. Factors that are considered when determining the children’s best interests include:

  • The existing relationship between the children and each parent
  • What role each parent has so far played in the children’s upbringing
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • How well each parent can provide for the children’s material and emotional needs
  • Each parent’s willingness to foster a healthy relationship between the children and the other parent

In a traditional litigated divorce, custody is often decided by the judge based on information from a guardian ad litem, a child custody evaluator, or by information provided to the lawyers by you and your spouse. With the exception of you and your spouse, none of these individuals, including the judge knows your children very well. Since this is true, does it make sense to leave your children’s fate in their hands? Doesn’t it make more sense for you and your spouse to make these crucial decisions regarding your children? Our collaborative team can help you achieve a mutually agreed upon co-parenting plan.

Preventing a Custody Battle

At the Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia, we have co-parenting coaches who can help you and your spouse customize a time-sharing (custody) agreement as part of a co-parenting plan that is best for you and for your children.

Utilizing Co-Parenting Coaches Minimizes the Impact of Divorce on your Children
Even the most amicable divorce is usually very hard on children. By keeping divorce out of the courtroom and working to facilitate respectful and amicable negotiations and agreements between you and your spouse, we seek to prevent any unnecessary emotional trauma to your children. Many parents who take this approach even report that the skills they learn during the process provide them with a new foundation for a healthy and constructive future relationship.

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How is child custody determined in Virginia?

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