Filing for full custody in Virginia involves a stressful and complicated judicial process. However, if you are unsure of the grounds for full custody in Virginia and need assistance, we can help you at Pedersen Law.
When seeking full custody of your child in Virginia, you must undergo a strict legal process whereby the court will weigh various factors in establishing what is in the best interest of the child. Under Virginia law, there are two forms of custody—legal and physical.
Legal child custody refers to the parental rights and responsibilities regarding a child's possession, care, and control as conferred by a court order. On the other hand, physical custody refers to the physical residence where a child lives and receives daily care.
Obtaining full custody of a child in Virginia simply means that the court awards only one parent both physical and legal custody. In this arrangement, the parent with full custody rights assumes full responsibility for child care while the other parent is granted visitation rights.
Circumstances under which full custody is granted in Virginia may include:
In Virginia, both parents are encouraged to share childcare responsibilities. However, the courts are also hesitant to grant full custody to one parent unless there is a compelling reason for the courts to believe that the other parent's ability to make sound decisions is compromised. In addition, the court will consider several other aspects related to the best interest of the child, including:
The courts in Virginia will also check if there is any history of child abuse, family abuse, violence, sexual abuse, or criminal convictions. A parent or guardian with a history of any of these misconducts may not seek custody in Virginia.
The first step to filing for full custody after a divorce in Virginia is to file a petition with the Court Services Unit of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in the jurisdiction where the parent and child reside. You must petition the court for amendments if there is an existing court order.
The judge will then set up a temporary custody order or a hearing and order for mediation if necessary. If the parents cannot reach a mutual agreement, the case goes to trial on petition request within one to three months after the initial hearing.
Filing for full custody in Virginia involves a stressful and complicated judicial process. However, if you are unsure of the grounds for full custody in Virginia and need assistance, we can help you at Pedersen Law PLLC.
Call us at (757) 903-4410 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with Heather Pedersen, our lead Williamsburg child custody attorney.