Things to know about child custody in Virginia

In 2020, many Virginia parents will file for divorce. Those doing so may find themselves entangled in legal proceedings regarding child custody issues. In this state, rulings on such issues are handed down in a Juvenile Domestic Relations District Court. While the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) promotes uniformity across the country, every state has its own guidelines and regulations regarding such matters as well.

In this state, there are several outcomes available to parents seeking custody, the first of which is a shared legal custody arrangement. This means both parents have authority to make important decisions on behalf of their children. Sole legal custody, on the other hand, leaves decision-making authority with one parent. Physical custody typically refers to the parenting time awarded to each parent by court order. Many parents are able to negotiate these issues directly and then submit a proposed agreement to the court to include in its custody order. 

If a judge overseeing a particular case orders sole custody to one parent, the other parent is usually awarded specified parenting time. Sometimes, child custody issues extend beyond a single state's boundaries. The UCCJEA, which has been adopted by the state of Virginia, is in place to help prevent parental child abductions across state lines and to encourage officials in one state to recognize and cooperate with officials in other states regarding custody issues.

Any Virginia parent concerned about child custody issues can tap into local resources for support. It is helpful to discuss such issues with an experienced family law attorney. Such an attorney would be well-versed on the legal aspects of the matter and can offer guidance and make recommendations as to what might be the best course of action to take in a particular set of circumstances.

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