There are many things that you may be unsure about when you start your divorce. One area where you need some security and knowledge of what may occur is when it comes to child custody in Virginia.
The American Bar Association explains that child custody issues within a divorce require a clear head and willingness to work together. If you fail to come to terms that you and the other parent agree on, the court may step in and make decisions for you. The court always bases decisions on what is best for the children, so you may end up with a parenting plan that is hard to accept.
To help you understand the process a little, here are three common questions people have about child custody.
1. If a parent does not pay support, does that affect custody?
Child support and custody are two different matters in the eyes of the law. The court will not make decisions about one that affects the other except in cases of shared parenting where parenting time is equal and reduces the support obligation.
The court might not take away visitation for not paying support. It may impose penalties, though. You also cannot take away visitation rights due to nonpayment. This is a violation of the court order of visitation, which could land you in trouble.
2. Will the court deny a parent visitation?
Rarely will the court entirely revoke a parent’s parenting time. The only reason that it may do so is if there is a situation that puts the children’s well-being at risk.
More likely, if there is an issue, the court may impose supervised visitation. The court wants both parents involved in your children’s lives, so taking away parenting rights is the last resort.
3. What are the typical parenting time arrangements?
Every situation is different, but a common arrangement is where one parent has physical custody and the children live with him or her. The other parent might see the children every other weekend, one weekday evening and half of the long school breaks. In addition, the other parent usually gets two to six weeks in the summer and every other major holiday with the children.
A parenting plan may differ depending on your personal situation. It is important to consider the best interests of the children when coming up with a custody plan.