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Primary caregivers and child custody

When deciding on child custody matters during a divorce, a judge will often give physical custody to the parent who serves as the primary caretaker of the child. Any Virginia resident who is seeking custody of his or her child will benefit from understanding how being a primary caregiver can affect a child custody decision.

The inclination to choose a primary caregiver as the primary custodial parent is an aspect that is rooted in psychology. Psychologists place significance on the relationship and emotional bond between a child and his or her caretaker. The continued presence of both is necessary for the proper development of the child. When making decisions regarding child custody, the family court judge will make a decision based on the overall best interests of the child.

To decide which parent has been fulfilling the role of the primary caretaker, the family court judge will consider how the major responsibilities have been shared between the two parties. Some of the tasks that are examined include arrangements for medical care, assistance with school work, the preparation of meals and assistance with personal care routines, such as getting dressed, bathing and other typical grooming tasks.

For child custody cases in which it is difficult to determine which party is the primary caregiver, the emotional and physical well-being of the child will be the determining factor. This will involve the consideration of the child's preferences regarding custody, whether there is any evidence of alcohol, substance or physical abuse from a parent and the quality of relationships the child has with members of the household.

Decisions regarding child custody are more likely to favor the primary caregiver. Parents who are seeking to have primary physical custody should consult with a family law and divorce attorney.

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Sevila, Saunders, Huddleston & White
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Leesburg, VA 20176

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