Virginia has a number of important child custody laws. If you decide to get a divorce, you'll need to understand these laws to protect yourself and your children.
Virginia law strongly prefers parents to go through mediation instead of litigation when it comes to forming a parenting plan. Yes, it's possible for a judge to create a plan, but it's better if the parents can come to an agreement, even if it's not exactly what they both want. Being able to talk to one another about your child's needs is an important part of your life moving forward, and mediation can be a good basis for opening those lines of communication.
Virginia law also keeps the best interests of your child in mind at all times. If a court has to decide on custody arrangements, then it will do so by determining what's best for your child. Understand that what you think is best or what your spouse thinks is best may not be what a judge thinks is best, so it's better if you can work out a custody arrangement among yourselves.
The judge will consider things like your child's age, mental condition and physical condition. If there has been abuse in the family, this will weigh on the case. If your child is around the age of 12 or older, he or she may also have some say in where he or she lives. Other factors that play a role in custody include each parent's age, health and willingness to have a relationship with the child and other parent.
Your attorney can help you through this complicated part of your divorce. The right support can make a difference. Our site has more information.