Deciding to seek custody of a child is an important process. You will need to show the court that you have the ability to provide the proper care to that child and why the court should give you custody over the other parent.
Typically, custody is part of your divorce process, but you still need to understand the basics of the process. Virginia’s Judicial System offers different types of custody.
The court may decide to give one parent custody of the children. Custody can be legal or physical. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions for the child. Physical custody is having the child with you physically. The court can combine or separate them.
If you have equal custody rights, you will have joint custody. If only one of you has rights, that is sole custody.
The parent without physical custody will usually have visitation rights. This is where the child will visit with the parent on a regular basis.
When making custody decisions, the court will always default to what is best for the child. You may hear the judge say best interests when referring to why he or she makes a decision. The court usually will consider a parent who is willing to compromise and communicate as doing what is in the best interests of the child. If you refuse to do those things, the court may see it as a negative.
The court can make many decisions freely when it comes to child custody. The law gives vague guidelines and leaves the weighing of the situation up to the judge, so when it comes to custody, you need to work with the court as much as possible to get a fair ruling.