Coates & Davenport, P.C.

What types of child custody are there in Virginia?

When parents in Virginia decide to divorce, they may have many questions about what access they will have to their child post-divorce. In fact, child custody decisions deserve careful thought, as they will affect the relationship each parent is able to have with their child for years to come. Therefore, it is important to have a basic understanding of child custody and visitation in Virginia.

In Virginia there are three types of custody. One is joint legal custody. If awarded joint legal custody, each parent will have the right to make decisions regarding the care of the child. This is true even if the child primarily resides with only one parent.

Second, there is joint physical custody. If awarded joint physical custody, each parent will be granted time in which they have custody of the child.

Third, there is sole custody. If awarded sole custody, only one parent will be primarily responsible for the child's care. This means that only that parent is allowed to make decisions about the day-to-day care of the child.

If a parent is not awarded primary physical custody, then he or she will have visitation periods with his or her child, unless doing so is not in the child's best interests. Sometimes parents will be able to work out a visitation schedule on their own out-of-court. However, if this is not possible, the court will determine when a parent will have visitation periods with their child. Visitation may take place certain days of the week, on weekends, on holidays and during summer break.

This is only a very basic overview of child custody and visitation in Virginia. Since each parent's situation is unique, this post cannot serve as legal advice. Parents in Virginia who have further questions about child custody and visitation may want to seek the advice of an attorney who can assess their situation and explain what his or her client's rights are.

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