Child Custody Types in Virginia

different types of custody

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Legal Child Custody Advice: Your Children Are The Most Important—Child Custody Arrangements After Divorce In Virginia

It goes without saying that emotions can run high during a divorce.  Even during the worst moments of a divorce, the emotional and physical needs of the children should always be put first. This is both in terms of what is best for the children and in what Virginia laws on Child Custody and Child Visitation prioritize.

As a divorcing spouse, while you may be angry, it’s vital that being upset with a spouse doesn’t cloud your decision about what’s best for your children.Both parents love their kids but may have separate ideas about where they should live. When a divorcing couple tries to discuss these matters without an experienced family law attorney’s guidance, it normally doesn’t end well. Emotions can escalate and the needs of the children can be forgotten.  

Legal Child Custody Advice: The Children’s Needs Are Of Foremost Importance

Do your best to put aside the emotions you have about your spouse during these discussions. Try to think about what the best custody arrangement is for your children as objectively as possible. While you may want full custody, Virginia law states that the other parent shall be involved in the children’s lives. This is unless the other parent abuses them or otherwise mistreats them. For the children, it’s important to nurture a relationship with the other parent. But what arrangements make sense? What all child custody types are available to me?

Virginia Child Custody Decisions

When divorcing, your pending ex-spouse and you can agree on a child custody plan. It’s in the family’s best interest to achieve this.  If the two of you can’t agree, however, the court will intervene. The court will decide who has legal custody or whether it is shared, as well as who they live with.

To ensure the best care possible for children of divorcing parents, one of the four most common custody types must be thoughtfully selected.

Three Types of Child Custody in Virginia

Joint Legal Custody

Joint Legal Custody is usually the best arrangement for the children if both parents are equally fit to manage care and upbringing. Although typically the children live full-time with one parent, some children split their time between each parent’s home. When children split time between parents’ homes, decision-making authority tends to be equal. Or even if children spend more time with one parent, the parents still share equal decision-making.

Primary Physical Custody

Primary Physical Custody is when one parent only has custody of the children with the other having visitation rights. In this situation, the non-custodial parent has the children for less than ninety (90) nights in a calendar year. A parent with primary physical custody is not permitted to relocate out of the area where the other parent doesn’t have reasonable access to visitation.

Split Physical Custody

Split Physical Custody means that the parents each have the children more than 90 nights a year. Often times this is done on a 50/50 basis, otherwise called Joint Physical Custody.  Split Physical Custody does not have to be 50/50, however. It is not uncommon to see one parent have the children the majority of their school year, while the other parent has the children the majority of the summer.  Split Physical Custody can be accomplished any way imaginable. It is a good option to consider during custody and visitation negotiations between parents.

The experienced family attorneys at Manassas Law Group know how sensitive child custody matters are.  We can serve you and your children by helping your spouse and you come to an agreement outside of court.  That being said, we’re always ready to fight for you if negotiations break down.

For more information, check out our post: Can Child Support Be Reduced?

Level-Headed Child Custody Negotiation and Mediation

The Manassas Law Group has experienced family law attorneys who can act as level-headed mediators in child custody decisions. This is even when parents can’t decide the issues between themselves. As our client, you’ll work directly with our attorneys starting with your initial consultation through your case resolution.

Though divorce is a difficult time imbued with painful emotions, the type of child custody that’s best for your children is what’s most important. Even if a couple is amicably divorcing, the children inevitably are going to be hurt in varying degrees if they understand what is happening. Nothing about divorce is simple. Agreeing on a child custody arrangement can be complex and contentious.

While we believe it’s best to avoid court whenever possible, if the other parent takes an aggressive approach, the Manassas Law Group’s family law attorneys will respond firmly. We’ll work to resolve custody disputes as efficiently, cost-effectively and quickly as possible. Ultimately, we do what’s in our clients’ best interests.

For well over four decades, we’ve dedicated our services to helping couples in the middle of a divorce. We want our clients and their children to have the most favorable outcome in Prince William County and the surrounding areas.

And we can help you toward resolution of your child custody issues. For a consultation in our conveniently located Manassas office to discuss your unique situation, call us at 703-361-8246.