When it comes to divorce, custody decisions are among the hardest for couples to decide. This is especially true in contentious situations, during which even minor issues may require extended negotiations.
Parents must make decisions in the best interest of their children, regardless of their feelings about the divorce or their former spouse. Parents should also understand the types of custody arrangements in Virginia, which can have a big impact on the proceedings.
In most instances, courts prefer to award both parents custody to ensure a child can maintain a loving and healthy relationship with both. However, some circumstances warrant the need for sole custody, which is when one parent retains sole responsibility for decisions involving the child. In this case, the parent with sole custody would be the primary decision-maker when it comes to care of the child.
Joint legal custody
Legal custody dictates who gets to make decisions on behalf of the child. In situations with joint custody, both parents have equal say in these child-rearing decisions. Additionally, both parents will be equally responsible when it comes to providing care for the child.
Joint physical custody
Keep in mind that legal custody is not the same as physical custody, which refers to the child’s primary residence. As a result, it is possible for both parents to have legal custody, even if the child lives with one parent. With joint physical custody, the child will usually spend an equal amount of time in the residences of both parents.
When it comes to custody decisions, the court issues orders to uphold them. That means parents can file a motion in court if the other party fails to follow an order issued by the court.