Things to Consider With Child Custody In Virginia

By | January 20, 2012
fairfax family law

Things to Consider With Child Custody In Virginia.

During my hiatus, a number of readers requested additional information on child custody.  Particularly popular were inquires about what specific things judges tend to look into when deciding custody and visitation.  The unfortunate answer is:  different judges like/dislike different things.  In Virginia, all custody decisions are governed by the “best interests of the child” statute.  That statute appears under the “Family Law” tab on this site.  It lists a number of factors for a judge to consider, but translating those factors into everyday terms can sometimes be tough.  So, for the next few posts, I’ll go through some of them, flush them out and offer you my take on things to consider.  I won’t (and can’t) be exhaustive, but I hope I’ll give you a good start on things to think about.

Though all of the factors are important, perhaps the most important is “fitness” of a parent.  Thankfully, this has almost nothing to do with physical fitness.  Instead, this factor looks at the things a parent does and how they relate to the child.

Things to avoid:

  1. Involvement of children in divorce process
  2. Denigration (insulting) of other parent
  3. Parental alienation of child from other parent
  4. Adultery and exposure of children to adulterous behavior
  5. Excessive use of alcohol
  6. Use of illegal drugs
  7. Abuse of prescription drugs
  8. Violence toward spouse or children
  9. Irresponsibility – financial and otherwise
  10. Quick temper and profanity
  11. Suicide threats or attempts
  12. Extremely poor housekeeping
  13. Exposure of child to pornography

General Considerations

  1. Time requirements of employment
  2. Travel requirements of employment
  3. Inability to hold a job or frequent job changes
  4. Lack of stability
  5. Frequent changes of address
  6. Age, infirmity, and disability
  7. History or mental or emotional illness
  8. General level of maturity
  9. Educational achievements



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