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Deciding on the best child custody option

Parents often contemplate and negotiate the best child custody solution when going through a divorce proceeding. Under Virginia law, both parents have equal rights for shared custody of children. In fact, child custody standards are very consistent from state to state because of the Uniform Child Custody Act.

Three types of child custody

Parents have several available child custody options in the state of Virginia. Custody arrangements differ from family to family according to the circumstances. A parent can have joint legal custody and physical custody. In other situations, a spouse can have joint legal custody and sole physical custody.

  • Joint Legal Custody: Many divorced parents share legal and physical custody of the children. But if a parent lives out of state or another reason, he or she may not have physical custody. When both spouses share legal custody, they possess the legal authority to make crucial life decisions regarding the children. Parents need to discuss and agree to major life decisions, such as schooling, travel and other issues.
  • Sole Custody: When necessary, the courts can grant one parent the sole legal and physical custody of the couple’s children. Often a judge awards sole custody to a parent when the other is drug dependent, an alcoholic, mentally ill or incarcerated. When one spouse gains sole custody of a child or children, the custodial parent makes all decisions regarding the child's education, activities and other matters. In this arrangement, the non-custodial parent may have right to visit the child or have visitation rights
  • Joint Physical Custody: Both parents have joint physical custody of their children, so this determines where the child physically lives or often it is called shared physical custody. With joint custody, the parents establish a parenting time schedule that’s suitable for the entire family.

Many parent’s lives revolve around their kids and parents do everything possible to protect and serve their best interests of their kids. You want your kids to grow into happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults. It’s crucial to arrive at the best custody arrangement for the entire family.

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