When deciding custody, Virginia courts are guided by the best interests of the child. The court considers each case by weighing such factors as the child’s relationship with the parents, each parent’s role in the child’s life, the physical and emotional health of all parties, and who has more capacity to contribute to the child’s development.
In general, there are the following custody arrangements forms in Virginia:
- Joint Legal Custody. No matter with whom the child lives, both parents retain responsibility for important decisions in the child's life.
- Joint Physical Custody. Parents share parenting time more or less equally, and both are in charge of the everyday care of the child.
- Sole Custody. One parent gets both legal and physical custody, and the other may request visitation.
Typically, the spouses are welcome to share the parental liabilities, and joint custody is often assigned if the parties are ready to cooperate.