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How does the Virginia determine your child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Family Law

During a custody battle, you and your former spouse might disagree on your child’s best interests. Divorce alters the family dynamic entirely and if there are bitter feelings between you and your ex, your child could become a pawn in the divorce. When you take custody to court, the court looks objectively at the child’s needs rather than at you and your spouse’s personal feelings towards one another.

A judge will analyze plans for parenting time, custody and visitation based on various factors.

The dynamic between parent and child

Your child’s age, physical and mental condition can impact your custody case. For example, if you have an infant under 10 months old, your visitation and custody schedule will look much different from the parents of a 10-year-old. The court looks at each parent’s role in the child’s life. Each parent should be able to continue a close relationship with the child and perform caretaking duties.

Older kids may be able to give the court their personal preference. Children with reasonable intelligence, experience and understanding can state their preferences. The judge can choose whether to use the child’s preference in the final ruling.

The dynamic between parents

The court will also look at your relationship with the other parent. Children do better in homes where the parents support the child’s relationship with each other. If one person denies visitation with the child or speaks ill of the other parent to the child, it can impact the court’s ultimate decision. Lastly, the court will consider any history of abuse between the parents.

If you already have a parenting plan, you can go to court to change it if you have a material change of circumstances.