COVID-19 NOTIFICATION: To protect your safety in response to the threat of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via teleworking options. Please call or e-mail us to discuss your options. We continue to operate under normal business hours.

Determining Child Custody in Virginia

Wilson C. Pasley Helps Navigate Child Custody Matters

Determining child custody in Virginia can be challenging. Child care battles are one of the most emotional parts of the divorce process. No matter what kind of separation it is, determining child custody is crucial. If you’re unsure about how to determine child care, Wilson C. Pasley, PLC Attorney at Law, can help.

This month, we’ll explain to you the types of child custody and how courts decide cases. Our team will also explain how certain visitation situations work for child care cases. Separation is stressful for all involved. Let our law firm can help you navigate through the complex parts of the process. Wilson C. Pasley, PLC Attorney at Law, is Virginia’s trusted child custody attorney.

Virginia Residents Can Choose Between Two Types of Child Custody

The Commonwealth of Virginia offers two types of child care as outlined in Virginia Code § 20-124.1. The court will award joint custody, sole custody, or both. Here is the difference between the two-child custody types in Virginia:

Joint Custody

In this agreement, both parents assume responsibility for the child’s physical, emotional, and more development. The child may live with the primary custodian. However, the caregiver must communicate and cooperate to make essential decisions in the child’s life. Courts often award joint physical custody less frequently than joint legal custody.

Sole Custody

In this case, one parent assumes the responsibility for the child’s physical, emotional, and moral development. The primary caregiver has the authority to make all decisions affecting the child. Virginia courts rarely award sole custody. This situation is typically limited to extreme conflict cases within the family.

Courts Consider Many Factors When Determining Child Custody

Courts within the Commonwealth of Virginia offer no presumption in favor of mothers in child custody cases. The state courts are legally required to base custody decisions based on the child’s needs. Judges decide child care cases by the following factors:

Status Quo

If one party stays in the marital home, they will start with a leg up. The other party can argue that the child will feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. Judges typically strive to make a divorce as painless as possible for the child.

Primary Caregiver

The judge will want to know which parent is primarily responsible for the child’s well-being. Obviously, a stay-at-home parent has an advantage in this case. Other factors can help the other party gain obtain the title of primary caregiver in a child custody case.

The Relationship Between the Parents and Child

Courts will consider the bond between parent and child in child care cases. This factor is often challenging to quantify. However, evidence of activities with the child can demonstrate a strong connection.

Abusive Behavior History

This factor has the potential to overwhelm all others. The Commonwealth of Virginia will not put a child in harm’s way.

Child’s Reasonable Preference

As instructed in Virginia Code § 20-124.3, the court must consider the child’s reasonable preference for custody. This factor can vary from case to case within the commonwealth.

Spouses Can Also Work Out a Plan for Determining Child Custody

The easiest way to settle child care is by creating a plan with your spouse. If you can communicate and agree on all terms, the judge will sign the agreement. If couples are close to agreeing but still need to work out issues, a mediator can help.

Couples who can’t decide after that, you can still ask the court for help later. It’s important to understand that the court will equally weigh all factors within a child custody case. Working out a plan with your spouse can save you time, money, and stress as you navigate this painful process.

The State of Virginia Requires Frequent Visitation With Both Parents

If the court awards one parent primary custody, the judge will create a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. Parenting time orders must contain a visitation schedule. This schedule typically includes alternating weekends, holidays, and school breaks. It also has extended visitation hours in the summer when the child is not in school. The order also contains pick-up and drop-off instructions when switching locations.

As with any custody-related issue, the court always prefers when parents can work in the child’s best interests. Like many agreements, if you present a plan to the court, the judge will sign it. However, it must be in the child’s best interest. All of this may sound daunting to some. It’s essential to seek the help of an experienced attorney.

Trust Wilson C. Pasley, PLC Attorney at Law for Family Law Matters

For over ten years, Attorney Pasley has helped clients in and around Virginia with child custody matters. Our law firm prides itself on providing the best representation possible for our clients. Attorney Pasley uses his expertise to fight for what you deserve and advocate for beneficial decisions for your children.

Wilson C. Pasley, PLC Attorney at Law, has developed a solid reputation throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We work with individuals in and around Roanoke, VA, with family law and other legal matters. Since our inception, our law office has aided residents with the best legal help possible for determining child custody. Contact us today to learn more about our family law services.

Learn more about determining child custody by calling Wilson C. Pasley, PLC Attorney at Law, at (540) 366-1545. Stay up-to-date by checking out our Facebook page. Attorney Pasley is proud to educate customers about determining child custody in Virginia.