In Virginia, both the mother and the father have equal rights when it comes to the custody of a child and neither of them is favored. The courts in Virginia determine the custody of a minor while prioritizing the child’s best interests. There are certain factors that influence the conclusion of a child custody case, and you can determine if you’re eligible for obtaining the custody of your child by considering them.
- The needs of the child, his age, mental and physical condition: The parent who has been more involved in the upbringing of a child, is able to fulfil the requirements of the child and meets his emotional needs, is preferred
- Age, physical and mental condition of the parents: The judges tend to give custody to the parent who would be able to take care of the child completely and doesn’t suffer from any physical and mental impairments that would hinder his ability to support the child.
- Preference of the child: Generally, wishes of a child lack maturity or under the age of 7 aren’t considered, although the child’s preference might be given some weightage and consideration if he is between the ages 7 and 12, depending on how developed the child’s understanding is and how mature he is to comprehend the gravity of the situation. However, children of the age 12 and older are asked, which parent they’d prefer to live with and their choice is given a lot of weightage in the final ruling.
- Relationship of the child and parent: Since the preference of the child, especially if he’s mature enough is given considerable weightage by the judges in Virginia, if you have a better relationship with your child the case would be in your favor.
- The law in Virginia also recognizes putative fatherhood and proclaiming fatherhood, could also lead to the court granting custody awards and visitation privileges.
There are also certain factors that can affect your eligibility to obtain the custody of your child, in a negative way:
- A history of family abuse: The judges want to ensure that the child gets a stable home environment, following the divorce, and if there is any history of domestic abuse or Child Protective Services complaints, your chances to get the custody can reduce drastically
- Illegal drug usage/Prescription drug or Alcohol Abuse: The child shouldn’t get the bad influence of a parent and thus abuse alcohol, prescriptions drugs or illegal drug, can pose a problem.
- A criminal record: If a parent can be dangerous to their child or is a bad influence, they are likely to not get custody and their visitation is also supervised.
- Civil commitment: The judges consider the age, physical and mental condition of both the parents in custody cases, and if a parent gets a court-order to receive treatment in a psychiatric hospital for showing symptoms of a severe mental illness, they’re likely to be not eligible for the custody.