What factors determine which parent gets custody of a child?

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Question:

What factors determine which parent gets custody of a child?

Answer:

There are many factors that will influence child custody in Virginia. Child custody rules are governed by state law.

In Virginia the court will consider may factors before deciding on which parent shall have custody of the child. The court will consider the circumstances of the parties involved – the parents and the child. The parental suitability of each parent is an important factor in determining child custody. Besides parental suitability, the prior role of each parent will also play an important role in determining child custody.

The court may sometimes consider the wishes of the child. The court may interview the child in the absence of the parents. Generally if the child is 10 years or older, the court will hear the child before determining child custody. In rare cases the court may also interview children below 10 years. The child opinion will play a vital role if the child is above 10 years.

The educational requirements of the child and the location of each parent’s residence will also influence the court’s decision on child custody. The character of a parent will also play a vital role. The court will be interested in the overall benefit of the child. If one parent has a criminal record or has a history of child abuse then that parent will not receive custody of the child.

Generally courts in Virginia will grant visitation rights to the parent who does not get child custody. If the circumstances of the parties change after the child custody order is passed it child custody order can be modified if an application is made by either parent. Consult with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney. The attorney can advise you on the factors that determine child custody.  

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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