When Virginia parents break up, ideally, their children will spend equal time with each parent. In a perfect situation, both parents will share parental responsibilities and participate in all activities in which the children are involved. Sadly, it is not a perfect world, and child custody decisions are not always so easy.
It is natural for one parent to want the children with them full time even when there are no issues of abuse, addiction or dangers involving the co-parent. Some parents cannot reach child custody decisions through compromise and negotiations. Other parents do not seem to have the best interests of the child in mind. In these cases, the courts will intervene.
What factors are on the line?
The standard the courts use in determining child custody is what is best for the child. This means the court will typically consider the following questions, among others:
- What are the living arrangements of each parent?
- Which parent can best provide for the physical needs of the child?
- Which parent has been caring for the child the majority of the time prior to the breakup?
- Which living arrangements will result in the least upheaval or stress for the child?
- What are the wishes of any children old enough to address this question?
Some judges will hesitate to award custody to a parent who makes false accusations against the other parent or who maligns the other parent in front of the children. The courts also consider the willingness of each parent to cooperate with the other parent in raising the children. The more cooperative the parent, the more likely he or she is seeking the best interests of the child.