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Is it possible to receive sole custody of my child?

In the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts of Virginia a parent may receive sole custody of their child if a court determines such a child custody plan is in the child's best interests. This post will discuss in brief some of the considerations a court must make before deciding if a parent should have sole custody or share custody jointly with the child's other parent; readers are cautioned, though, to seek their own family law counsel as this post is only an overview of a broad legal topic. It does not provide legal advice.

A parent in Virginia may have sole physical custody of a child and sole legal custody of a child or share these two types of custody jointly with their child's other parent. While physical custody covers where a child lives legal custody covers the rights of a parent to make important decisions about a child's upbringing.

Often if a child is put in the sole physical custody of one parent then the other parent will have court-ordered visitation time with the youth. A court may shy away from granting a parent any type of physical custody if there is a history of abuse or violence in the family, though every case must be addressed on its own merits to determine whether sole or joint child custody will better serve the child.

Parents often share legal custody of their children so that they may both have voices in the decisions that will guide their kids' lives. It is possible, though, for a parent to be denied legal custody of a child if it could be detrimental to the child.

In the end, a child's best interests will determine if their parents share custody of them or if one parent will be granted their exclusive custody. Courts can consider the preferences of the children subject to their custody orders as well as other case-specific factors when deciding who should have control over a child.

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Boyce, Leahy & Francescon, Lawyers
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