You will probably have a long list of things to worry about when you think about filing for divorce or get served with paperwork by your spouse. Frequent concerns people have include what will happen with their home, whether they will be able to retire as planned and what will become of the relationship with their children.
Many parents, especially those who have not served as the primary caregiver for their children, worry intensely about whether their divorce will negatively impact the relationship with their children. Are you at risk of losing custody of your kids in your upcoming Virginia divorce?
Virginia laws focus on what the children need
The main goal in custody proceedings is to reach arrangements that are beneficial and positive for the children. The best interests of the children are what determine the custody structure. Generally, divorcing parents can expect to negotiate a shared custody arrangement with their ex or for the courts to create a parenting plan that gives both of them time with and access to the children.
Many parents also share decision-making authority or legal custody. However, there are rare circumstances in which a judge might agree to give one parent sole custody. When might that happen?
Sole custody is only possible in certain situations
Trying to make custody decisions that are good for the children usually means having both parents share the responsibilities of parenting. However, there are sometimes situations where shared custody is not the best outcome.
If one parent has demonstrated abusive behavior toward the children, that could influence custody. So could one parent abusing the other when the children are present. A parent who has previously abandoned the children may have a harder time securing shared custody, and the same is true of a parent with an unresolved addiction issue or other medical problems that might prevent them from successfully parenting.
Unless one parent has evidence of significant issues that might put the children at risk, the courts will likely expect them to continue sharing parental responsibilities and parenting time with their ex. Understanding your rights and the Virginia approach to custody determinations can help you be the parent you want to be after divorce.