Divorce Virginia Custody

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The settlement of child custody issue is a significant legal formality associated with most of the divorce cases. The children related decision requires a lot of attention and consideration of particular factors like physical or mental state of the people included in the process, financial status of both the parents and likewise. However, the state laws may differ depending upon the circumstances and definite rights set by the judiciary system of the particular state. During the child custody settlement in Virginia, natural parents are preferred to third parties as the guardians of the minor. If a parent has a suitable residence and is fit, he or she has a superior right of custody. This assumption can be overridden if there is any convincing proof of the following regarding the natural parent:

  • Previous order limiting or terminating the rights
  • Abandonment
  • Voluntary relinquishment
  • Unfitness of both the parents

The court might terminate parental rights in case there is presence of some convincing facts with clear proof:

  • The termination of parent's marital relationship is in the best interests of the child
  • The abuse or neglect behavior shown by the parent possess a severe threat to the child
  • It seems rather impossible that within reasonable time period, the circumstances would alter.

Factors considered by the court before finalizing the custodial responsibilities

In order to declare a fair decision over child custody issue, the court first confirms some definite factors or conditions associated with the divorcing parents and the child involved. Some relevant conditions are:

  • Are there any past incidences of family abuse?
  • If the court concludes that the child has reasonable experience, age, understanding and brilliance to form and speak out a preference, then what is the reasonable preference of the child?
  • The ability of each parent to cooperate regarding issues that impact the child
  • The capacity and readiness of each parent to continue a close relationship with the child
  • The inclination of each parent to actively support the contact and relationship of the child with the other parent
  • With respect to the care and upbringing of the child, what role has each parent played in the past and what they intend to do in the future?
  • The requirements of the child, inclusive of the relationships of the child with peers, siblings, extended family members and with all other concerned individuals
  • The capacity of the parent to precisely access and fulfill the physical, intellectual and emotional requirements of the child
  • The mental state, physical condition and age of each parent as well as the child
  • Any changed developmental requirements of the child
  • Any other issues that the court regards as essential for determination of the child custody

Individuals related to child custody issue

In Virginia, some individuals act in an official capacity in child custody cases. One such individual is the social worker. The court directs this social worker to conduct an analysis in order to present the home study of particular residences. These residences usually belong to those parents who seek child custody responsibilities during their divorce. The responsibility of the worker is to observe the residence, have a chat with the parents and the children. The next step is to report what these professionals have seen to the concerned judge.

Another individual is the GAL (Guardian ad Litem). This person is basically a lawyer and he or she is authorized to represent the best interests of the child. These professionals greatly contribute in making valid decisions associated with child custody. The court is empowered to appoint a GAL as per Section 16.1-266.

Essential facts related to child custody in Virginia

  • If the child is aged between six and eight, the judge might be curious to visit the child in order to know the needs of the child.
  • When the child is between eight and thirteen years of age, the judge might possibly desire to interview the child.
  • In case of children above thirteen years of age, the judge considers their preference of child custody as a controlling factor.
  • In case of the past decisions of the courts, it is observed that the courts have a preference for large residences. Specifically, if the house has a separate bedroom for the child, it is favored.
  • The objective of the court is that the child should continue contact with the extended family. This is particularly true in case of grandparents on both sides.

In order to decide the adequate custodial parent for the child, the court demands the fulfillment of definite conditions by that parent. During the child custody settlement in Virginia, some third party can also be given the authority of child custody if in case the divorcing parents do not satisfy all legal formalities defined by the state.

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