Custody In Virginia

Under Virginia law, both biological parents are the presumed natural custodians of their children. The law does not favor either the mother or the father. The law is based on the principle of the “best interests” of the child to make decisions related to custody and visits. The child’s “best interests” principle takes into account specific factors to determine what is best for the child (ren). This standard will be discussed later. Although grandparents and others may ask for custody, the presumption in favor of the birth parents can make it difficult.

Custody and visitation agreements are never permanent. When situations change, a parent can always ask the Court to modify a Court Order. This article was designed to give you general information about how the court decides custody and visitation rights in Virginia.

Types of Custody

Any of the separated parents can request custody of a child from a court in Virginia. If the parties can not agree on who should have custody, the court will grant custody to only one parent or be shared between the two parents.

Types of custody by court order

Temporary Custody

Temporary custody means “prosecution pending.” To formalize custody before the litigation begins, you will need to request a temporary custody order by order of the court.

Legal and physical custody

All custody by court order has two components, one legal and one physical. Legal custody implies the right to make plans and make long-term decisions regarding religious, education, discipline, training, non-emergency medical care, and other matters of great importance related to the child’s welfare. Physical custody includes spending time with the child and making decisions about the child’s daily needs. The court can grant legal and physical custody in several ways.

Exclusive Custody

the court can grant someone with sole legal custody or physical custody or both.

Divided custody (of 2 or more children)
It is easier to describe divided custody in a situation where there are two children,  and each souse will be granted with the care of one child.

The court also takes into account the evidence of domestic abuse. The court considers that in many instances it is in the best interest of the child to continue receiving the attention of both parents. The visitation hours allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child. For this reason, the court favors the father who makes the maximum effort to foster a positive relationship exists between the child with other parents. While many people think that custody of the child has to do exclusively with the primary residence of the child, this only touches on the issue of “physical custody.” Another aspect is “legal custody” which means parents posses right to participate in all necessary decisions of the life of the child.

In many cases, parents choose to solve custody and visitation problems with a mediator or through negotiation. If this is the case in your child custody dispute, a lawyer will try to do everything possible for a reasonable plan on your behalf. If the negotiation fails and all or some of the problems remain unresolved, then our attorneys will not wait to go to court and protect your rights and the welfare of your child.