For most separating couples, determining custody arrangements lies at the top of the divorce priority list. Perhaps you and your spouse want sole custody of your children, or perhaps you both agree that joint custody will work best for your family dynamic.
In all divorce proceedings involving children, you want to ensure you have the best representation in court by hiring a family law attorney. These attorneys hold years of experience in helping develop custody plans that work for both spouses. All parties involved – spouses, attorneys and a judge – will work to keep the best interest of your children in mind by looking at a variety of factors of your marriage to ensure the safety and health of your children throughout the custody proceedings.
Sole and joint custody considerations
When deciding whether to award sole or physical custody, a judge will look at whether one spouse has committed offenses that would potentially harm your children’s well-being. A judge may determine that one parent is simply far more fit to have custody of your children. If you are awarded sole custody, you have the authority to:
- Live with your children
- Decide where your children attend school
- Decide your children’s religion
- Determine your children’s medical care and needs
- Vacation with your children
If you and your spouse both receive custody, you both will have the ability to determine these arrangements.
Deciding whether to award sole or joint custody to one spouse or both, a judge will look at a variety of factors of your financial health and marriage. In Virginia, a court will analyze:
- Your children’s ages and health
- Your and your spouse’s age and health
- Whether amicable relationships exist between your children
- Your children’s needs
- The duties you perform for your children
- Whether you will support a solid relationship between your children and your spouse
- Your children’s preference, if necessary
- Whether any abuse is present
- Any other factors
Do not attempt to receive sole or joint custody of your children alone. Accurate representation by an attorney gives you the best opportunity to receive your deserved custody of your children.