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Who Receives Custody of Children in a Divorce?
Even in a peaceful or mediated divorce, the process is a stressful and draining one. And particularly so when children are involved. The issues of custody, in particular, tends to be a heavy and difficult matter, though it need not necessarily be so. If you find yourself unsure of who will receive custody in your divorce, the attorneys at Graham Law Firm are able to help you learn more.
The Basics of Custody Law in Virginia
The handling of custody in the state of Virginia isn’t quite cut and dry, but it always places the interests of the child or children first and foremost. Many factors are considered, each carrying weight according to the unique case’s subjects. Factors that are considered include:
- The age(s) of children involved
- The mental health of the child
- The physical health of the child
- The relationship and role of each parent in relation to the child
- Family history regarding the child, including active role of parents, continued roles, and any history of adversity
There are many, many additional details as well. The child may also have some measure of preference to voice, though how much weight this carries will depend on the relative intelligence and maturity of the child.
The Differences Between Joint and Sole Custody
In the case of joint custody, both parents play an active role in the physical and custodial custody of the child, and carry significant weight in regards to decisions involving the child. Do note that significant weight doesn’t always necessarily mean equal.
When sole custody is awarded, one parent carries authority in the care of children, while the other parent may be awarded restricted or limited visitation rights.
Mediation and Custody
In the best-case of custody in regards to children, both parents will actively utilize mediation services of a qualified neutral party in order to formulate a custody schedule that best fits the needs and interests of the child in question. If matters of contention arise during mediation, but mediation has been otherwise cooperative, the neutral party can assist in making decisions, or if communication breaks, legal action or decision making can be taken to a court.