Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved, but it is particularly hard on children. In Virginia, the court seeks to mitigate the negative impact a case will have on the kids and protect them. Part of that is ensuring they have a safe and nurturing environment and contact with both parents.
Whether the parents can agree on their own to a custody and parenting time plan or the court needs to assess the case and do it for them, it is important to know what factors will be considered.
The court will assess several key aspects
Custody and parenting time will hinge on many issues. The child’s age and general condition – mentally and physically – is essential when the determination is made. If it is a particularly young child, it will be important that they bond with the parents. For older children, their schedule may need to be take precedence. The parents must also be looked at in a similar way to make sure their focus is on the child.
The child will likely already have a relationship with the parents. Keeping them involved and part of the child’s life is imperative. Children have fundamental and ancillary needs. Schooling, clothing, health care, extracurricular activities. These must be met.
Parents might have a contentious relationship because of the end of the marriage. The court will want to know that they can put their differences aside and function for the good of the child. That includes fostering a relationship between the child and the other parent and keeping the other parent apprised of the child’s progress and concerns.
The child might have preferences. If they are old enough or deemed mature enough regardless of age, they can express that to the court and the court will take it into account. Abuse that has been alleged or documented as having occurred will play a role in the court’s decision.
Custody and parenting time can be complicated
Parents will undoubtedly want the best for their child, but during a family law case when child custody and parenting time are in dispute, it can lead to disruption and discord. This can be problematic for everyone involved, especially the child. For these cases, it is imperative to know what the court will consider and how to achieve a positive result.