If you are a resident of Virginia and you are going through a divorce which involves young children than either you need to decide about the future of your children mutually or the Virginia court will do it if you both cannot agree on a settlement. It is crucial for you to understand the Child Custody law in Virginia and measures you need to take in order to file a petition for your child’s custody. The Virginia court consider multiple factors to ensure the best interest of the child before finalizing the custody of the child.
Taking a Divorce is never easy for any person who has kids but we can assist you in dealing the process swiftly. If you are recently separated and looking forward to take the custody of your child, you need to go through the following steps in Virginia:
- Do you Meet the Required Residency Laws for Acquiring Your Child’s Custody in Virginia
The very first step any parent is required to take before filing the petition for child’s custody in Virginia is to verify that they meet the residency requirement of the child custody case. The residency requirement states that child must have stayed in Virginia for at least a period of 6 months before the petition is filed.
- Contact your Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court or Circuit Court
Once you fulfill the residency requirement you can now contact your Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, or in case of a running divorce case you can contact your Circuit Court for obtaining the custody forms.
- Prepare for your Petition
It is crucial for a parent to prepare for the petition. In order to do so, one should be well aware of the factors which a court acknowledges for a child custody.
- Understanding Child Custody Laws in Virginia
There are multiple factors that Virginia court considers before deciding the custody of your child. All the factors are weighed accordingly to analyze the best interest of your child. Generally, these factors includes:
- The age of your child
- Their physical and mental condition
- The age of both the parents
- Physical and mental conditions of both the parents
- The relationship of each parent with the child
- The relationship of the child with his/her siblings and other family members
- Role of each parents in the child’s life so far
- Willingness of each parent to support the relationship of the child with the other parent
- The reasonable preferences of the child
- Any historical record of violence, criminal abuse and domestic violation
- Types of Custody
- Sole custody
- Joint custody
- Divided custody
- Split custody
- Visitation Rights
The court allows the non-custodial parent to visit their child and maintain a bond with them. These vitiation can be time specific or even supervised.
- Fill Your Affidavit
The next step is to fill an affidavit which would contain all the necessary details of the child such as where the child was residing, primary caretaker of the child, who was living with the child or was there any court case linked with the child in the past.
- Prepare for the Summon
A summon is a document which gives the other parent a specific time duration for answering the petition.
- Signing the Documents
You need to sign all these documents in the presence of any court official.
- Filing the Documents at Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court
While filing these document you need to present three different document to the officer.
- One copy would be for the court
- One copy would be for your personal records
- And the third one will be for the other parent
- Paying your dues for the Petition
- Served the Documents to the Other Parent
You need to send one copy of the filed document to the other parent.
- Filing an Evidence of Serving the Documents
It is important that you serve these documents to the other parent. However, if you are not able to reach the other parent then you need to give a public notice in the newspaper.