Many divorces in Northern Virginia involve minor children. Issues such as child custody and child support bear directly upon the child's welfare, but in many cases, the child does not have independent representation to ensure that these issues are fully litigated in their best interests. To remedy this, the Virginia court system appoints "guardians ad litem" (GAL). If a judge in a divorce case appoints a GAL for the children in the case, the GAL will act as the child's attorney for the duration of the case. A GAL can also be appointed for an adult who is not able to understand or participate in the proceeding.
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.
These days there are many different types of apps aimed at helping divorced parents in Virginia and across the nation who want to co-parent their child. A new app on the market, coParenter, aims to help make co-parenting easier. The app provides a means for parents to share calendars and schedules. It also has location-based tools that can be used during child custody exchanges and provides a way for parents to request a one-time change in their normal parenting-time schedule if necessary. Parents can keep track of their expenses relating to the child, as well as reimbursements. It also provides tools parents can use when it comes to making day-to-day care decisions with regards to raising their child.
Parents in Virginia who are going through a divorce may want to make joint custody work, so that they can both play a meaningful role in the day-to-day upbringing of their child. However, joint custody does not always mean that the child must be shuffled from one house to another every week. In one unique child custody arrangement known as "birdnesting," the child stays put in the family home, and it is the parents who take turns living there with the child and residing in a separate apartment when it is not their time to have custody of the child.
Parents in Virginia who have divorced may have ended their union with one another, but they still retain a certain relationship: they are both still parents to their child. This means they must be able to communicate and cooperate with one another, so that they can raise their child in a manner that provides the child with stability and the ability to retain a meaningful relationship with each parent. For this reason, some parents who can manage to work together despite their divorce will decide to co-parent.
Parents in Virginia who have gone through a divorce may want to try to keep the matter as stress-free as possible for their children. In an effort to try to put their children's needs first, they may attempt co-parenting with regards to child custody and parenting time. Through co-parenting, parents will generally make decisions regarding their child's care together, and they may both play an active role in the upbringing of their child, for example, by attending important events with the child together.
Celebrating the holidays after a divorce can be complicated, especially if you have children. Parents in Virginia want the holidays to be a good time for their kids, so it is important for both of them to be on the same page when it comes to child custody and the holidays. For many, this means reviewing their holiday child custody and visitation schedule and respecting each other's time with their child.
Divorcing parents in Virginia may be eager to cut ties with one another and go their separate ways. However, despite the end of their marriage, parents will still have one tie to one another -- their need to raise their child together. Sometimes parents are on good enough terms with one another that they can "co-parent" -- that is, make major life decisions on behalf of the child together and agree on the day-to-day raising of the child. This can be the case if parents share legal custody and physical custody.
In what was known as the "tender years" doctrine, it used to be presumed that most mothers should be the primary caretaker of their child, especially if the child was young. So, when parents divorced, oftentimes the mother was awarded primary custody, and the father was only awarded visitation. However, times have changed, and it is now recognized that fathers also play an important role in a child's life.
Years ago, it was often assumed by many courts in Virginia and elsewhere that, when parents divorced, the mother was the most suitable parent to receive sole custody of the child, while fathers were relegated to visitation periods on weekends and perhaps one evening a week. This was based on the assumption that the child had a primary attachment to his or her mother. However, courts across the nation are ruling more in favor of shared custody and what meets the best interests of the child.