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Child Custody and Visitation in Virginia

The 2 types of custody arrangements in Virginia are: legal and physical. Legal custody is a parent's ability to make decisions regarding the kid’s welfare, like education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody is a parent’s right to provide the primary residence for the child.

A Virginia court may award joint legal or physical custody, sole legal or physical custody, or a combination of both.

Joint legal custody means that both parents can participate in making decisions for the child, regardless of where the child lives. When parents share legal custody, neither parent can make an important decision for the child w/o talking to the other first. Then if the parents still can't agree, they’ll need the court to decide for them. Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the authority to make important decisions for the child.

Joint physical custody means that the parents share physical care & custody of the child. But that doesn’t mean the child spends 50% of the time with both parents.

Whenever a child is the subject of any court litigation in Virginia, the judge will always consider best interest of the child under VA Code§ 20-124.2.

To modify a custody/visitation order, the petitioning party must show: 1) a material change in circumstances since the time the court order was entered, and 2) that a modification is in the best interest of the child under § 20-124.2.

If you need legal representation to file a petition for custody and/or visitation or to defend your rights in a custody hearing call JMA LAW today at 757-447-7249.

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