Parents who are facing divorce may be concerned about losing custody and being relegated to “weekend parents,” where they only see their kids on alternating weekends and a spare night during the week. Indeed, Virginia family court judges are charged with making custody decisions based on the factors set forth in Virginia Code §20-124.3, also known as the best interest factors.
Indeed, there are a number of factors that can make up a custody decision, but as a concerned parent, you want to know just how judges use them. While it is not legal advice, this post will provide some insight.
The importance of the status quo – Family court judges do not like disrupting a child’s life or uprooting a child from his or her current home. This means that it is unlikely that a child will be moved from one home to another unless there are extenuating circumstances creating such a need.
Who is the primary caregiver – The court will also want to know which parent is primarily responsible for day-to-day care and decision-making, including educational involvement, medical decisions, as well as morning and bedtime routines.
Which parent is more likely to foster a co-parenting relationship – Even if one parent checks all the proverbial “boxes” as an ideal parent to have primary custody, it may be immaterial if the parent is unlikely to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.
If you have questions about how these and other factors may apply to you, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.