Coates & Davenport, P.C.

What child custody arrangements are there in Virginia?

When it comes to divorce, child custody issues can be some of the most emotional issues parents in Virginia face. After all, they must concede to the fact that it is likely that there will be times when they do not see their child on a daily basis, as their child will be in the care of their ex. However, what is important is that any child custody decisions made are made with the best interests of the child in mind. There are three types of child custody arrangements to consider with regards to the care of the child.

First, there is joint legal custody. Through joint legal custody each parent enjoys the right to care for and control their child. This means they are both able to make important decisions regarding the child, even if the child lives mainly with only one parent. Some of these decisions include what religion the child will practice, decisions regarding the child's medical care and decisions regarding the child's education.

Second, there is joint physical custody. In this arrangement, the child will reside with each parent at certain times. While the child is in the care of each parent, that parent has the right to make minor decisions regarding the child's daily life. This situation generally only works out when parents live in close proximity to one another and are on cooperative terms.

Third, there is sole custody. Through sole custody, the child will reside primarily with one parent. That parent has the sole right to make minor decisions regarding the child's daily life. The other parent may have visitation rights. Sole custody may be appropriate if the parents live very far away from one another, or if one parent is unable to care for the child on a daily basis.

Parents may try to work out child custody decisions out-of-court. This can lead to a result that both parents are satisfied with, as they each had a say in the outcome. However, sometimes negotiations fail, and parents must turn to the court for a decision on child custody issues. In either case, what is important is that the child's needs are put first, so that the child can maintain a meaningful relationship with each parent and so that the child can have a stable and supportive environment in which to grow.

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