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How is child custody determined in Virginia?

Understanding how child custody is determined is of exceptional importance to most divorcing parents, which is why they should be familiar with how child custody decisions are made and determined. Virginia child custody decisions are made based on what is in the best interests of the child and may be based on different types of child custody arrangements.

In Virginia, the family law court considers the wishes of the child when making child custody decisions. Significant weight, in fact, is given to the wishes of the child when considering child custody. Child custody decisions are generally based on what is in the best interests of the child, which is the guiding principle all parties should consider when determining child custody.

The non-custodial parent of the child is entitled to visitation rights, unless there is evidence of abuse, for example. There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. The different types of child custody arrangements include: joint legal custody; joint physical custody; and sole custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to which parent will make important decisions for the child related to the child's healthcare, education and religion, for example. Both types of custody, physical and legal, can be either joint or sole custody.

It is important for divorcing parents to have all of their child custody questions answered and to understand how the family law process can help sort out child custody concerns. Child custody should always be resolved in favor of what is in the best interests of the child, which is why divorcing parents should understand the process and how child custody is determined.

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Sevila, Saunders, Huddleston & White
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Leesburg, VA 20176

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