Factors Virginia Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney

There's no set formula for determining child custody in Virginia; the court simply wants to do what is best for the child. However, the judge does take certain things under consideration when making her ruling. The court will look at the following circumstances and how they fit within your individual situation:

  • Your child's age, physical condition, and mental condition. The judge will also give consideration to the fact that your child’s developmental needs are always changing.
  • The age, physical condition, and mental condition of each parent.
  • The relationship that currently exists between each parent and each child. The court is not, however, just looking at the general fact of parenthood. The judge will be evaluating whether each parent has a positive involvement in the child's life and the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of the child.
  • The needs of the child, giving considering to other important relationships of the child, including siblings, peers, and extended family members.
  • The role that each parent has played in the upbringing and care of the child, and the expected roles the parents will assume in the future.
  • Whether each parent actively supports the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child.
  • The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate with the other in order to resolve disputes in matters affecting the child.
  • The child's preference, if the court thinks the child is of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age, and experience to express a preference for living with one parent rather than the other.
  • Any history of family abuse or sexual abuse.

The judge will also look at any other factors she may think are important in determining custody. This allows your Virginia child custody attorney an opportunity to stress particular issues that will sway the judge toward your preferred decision.

If you would like help working out a child custody agreement in Virginia, contact the Virginia Beach law office of Hampton Roads Legal Services at 757-340-3100 today for a free consultation.

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