Your children are your priority, and you want to ensure they have a stable environment following your divorce.
While courts aim to secure a custody arrangement that includes both parents, there are times when it may be appropriate for you to get full custody.
What types of custody do Virginia courts address?
When you begin the divorce process, the law assumes you and your spouse are fit to care for your children. However, courts consider the circumstances of your case to guide custody decisions. You may not realize that the law recognizes more than one kind of custody.
Sole custody gives only one parent the physical and legal rights over the care of the children. However, the other parent may still have visitation rights. Joint physical custody is when you and your co-parent share physical custody and parental responsibility. Joint legal custody is when both parents can make decisions regarding care, even if the children reside at only one parent’s home.
How does a judge decide custody?
The court’s goal in a child custody case is to identify what serves the best interests of your children. A judge looks at many factors, including:
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- Relationship between the children and each parent
- History of domestic violence or child abuse
- The physical or mental health care needs of the children
- Age of children
- Preference of children (depending on age)
If you feel your spouse puts your children in danger or is incapable of caring for them properly, you have options in court. You must know your rights and understand how to present your case to achieve the outcome that protects your children from harm.