Divorce is an emotional process for both parents and children. According to the Child Mind Institute, it is not uncommon for kids to act out, withdraw or show signs of depression when a marriage ends. Parents also find it challenging as they strive to make a custody decision for their child.
In Virginia, the child’s best interests are the primary focus of custody decisions. To nurture a strong bond between them and their parents, the court often awards joint custody to allow both parties to engage in their child’s life.
Joint legal custody
Under joint legal custody, both parents share responsibility and have equal input in their child’s upbringing. This shared decision-making is the first step in the co-parenting process as both parties collaborate on matters related to education, healthcare, religious upbringing and the child’s general welfare.
Joint physical custody
In addition to decision-making, joint physical custody allows both parents to spend significant time with their child. Scheduling options available include sharing equal time, alternating weeks or months and customized custody schedules to meet the child’s specific needs.
In custody hearings, the court evaluates various aspects, including the child’s age, their relationship with each parent and the parents’ capacity to offer a loving, stable and nurturing environment. The court’s primary concern is the child’s welfare, aiming to establish supportive living arrangements through custody decisions.
Joint custody options in Virginia provide parents with the framework needed to create an environment that is beneficial to their child’s ongoing growth and development.