Working through child custody issues in Virginia

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Family Law |

It can be hard for parents in Virginia who are going through a child custody dispute to divorce emotions from the legal issues that need to be addressed. This is totally understandable, since child custody obviously deals with one of the most important aspects of a person’s life: their children. But, working through the details of child custody should involve a primary focus on addressing legal factors.

Child custody basics

Parents in Virginia who find themselves in this type of situation would benefit from understanding the basics of child custody. First, there are two main aspects of child custody: legal and physical. The term legal custody refers to a parent’s right and responsibility to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as where the child will attend school or church, what medical attention is necessary and even which extracurricular activities the child might participate in. By default, most family law courts prefer legal custody to be joint custody, which means both parents have a say in these important matters.

Physical custody refers to where the child will live. The physical custody arrangements can be creative and must usually fit what works best for the parents, ideally. If one parent or the other does not have primary physical custody, then that parent will have what is often called parenting time or visitation. This means that a set schedule might be in place for when the non-custodial parent has the right to spend time with the child.

Once these basic concepts about child custody are understood and arrangements are made that the parents can agree upon, the rest of the details about child custody will, hopefully, come together quickly. Parents need to remember that they will always have the shared bond of the child in their lives – no matter how much animosity there might be between the parents. Working together is always the best option, but sometimes courtroom litigation is necessary to protect your child custody rights.