On behalf of Roeder, Cochran, Phillips, PLLC posted in family law on Friday, April 19, 2019.
A Virginia divorce is inevitably difficult for the spouses as they part ways. As they sift through their family law issues, some of the most complex parts of the case center around children. This is linked to custody and visitation and is often the foundation for significant dispute. For the parents, it is important to put the children’s best interests first. Often, as they disagree and there are likely lingering factors from the marital breakdown sowing discord, the children can get caught in the middle. The law of the Commonwealth takes steps to watch for the best interests of the children in these cases.
When coming to a determination on the best interests of a child, the court will consider multiple factors. The child’s age, physical and mental condition will be considered with specific focus on the developmental requirements and how they are changing with the passage of time and the end of the marriage. The parents will also have their mental and physical condition assesses. The child and the parents’ relationship with one another will be key. Consideration will be given as to whether there will be a positive outcome from the child having a relationship with the parents and if the parents can oversee the child’s needs in a physical, intellectual and emotional way.
The child will have needs and these must be addressed in terms of relationships with other children, siblings and extended family. The parents will have played a role in the child’s life before the divorce and that will be considered after the divorce and how it will impact the child’s upbringing. The parents’ ability to support the child having contact with the other parent and if unreasonable denial of such contact will be factored in.
The parents should be willing to put their differences aside and help the child have a close relationship with the other parent. The child might have his or her preferences and, if there is sufficient maturity and intelligence, this will be weighed. If there was physical or sexual abuse, this will be a critical factor. The court can use other factors as it determines their importance in coming to its conclusions.
When there is a divorce and parents are trying to address their child custody and visitation, keeping the child’s interests at the forefront is a foundational aspect. Often, this is forgotten. Knowing the law and having assistance from a qualified legal professional who handles family law and divorce can help with these matters and assist the parents achieve a reasonable resolution.