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What guides the decisions of Virginia courts in custody cases?

Divorcing parents are allowed to resolve child custody issues through agreements. But these issues can get very contentious, and circumstances sometimes make it so such agreements aren’t able to be reached. When this happens, the custody dispute will generally go before a court for a ruling.

What do courts here in Virginia consider when issuing custody orders in such cases? Under state law, their decisions are to be primarily driven by what is in the child’s best interests.

What are courts to keep in mind when deciding what would be in a child’s best interests? State law sets out 10 factors that are to be considered. They touch on a wide a range of matters involving the child, the parents, the family’s history and the parent-child relationship. Additionally, the 10th factor is a catch-all, generally covering any additional issue the court finds to be important to the determination of best interest.

So, there are a wide range of issues and evidence courts in the state may look at in custody cases. Also, how much weight is ultimately given to the various best interest factors can vary quite a bit based on the circumstances.

Given this, what steps a Virginia parent who is involved in custody litigation takes to support the argument that the arrangement that he or she is asking for is in his or her child’s best interests matters considerably. Skilled family law attorneys understand how complex custody disputes can get and can assist parents with the various aspects of preparing for court proceedings.

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