Child Custody and Visitation

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In Virginia, when a judge is determining which parent should have custody of a child or children, the judge is required to determine the best interests of the children. The judge is guided in their custody determination by the factors in Virginia Code Section 20-124.3.

Legal Custody: Legal custody resolves who will make major decisions for the child/ren. Legal custody can be joint so that both parents make major decisions about the child/ren together. Legal custody can be sole so only one parent makes the major decisions for the child. Sole legal custody is usually granted when the parents are unable to make decisions for their children together.

Physical Custody: Physical custody resolves which parent’s home the child/ren will live in. Physical custody can be granted to one parent as the “primary custodian” or it can be granted to both parents in a “shared custody” arrangement.

Visitation/Parenting Time: Visitation with the “non custodial” parent can be structured in various ways. The range of visitation for a non custodial parent can be anywhere from supervised and extremely limited visitation to equally shared time.

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