One frequent issue that arises when a couple that shares a child decides to part ways or was never together as a couple in the first place is to determine child custody and visitation rights. The state of Virginia takes issues with children very seriously, and the best interests of the child are paramount when the living arrangements are made. One parent might be given full custody, the parents can have joint custody or someone other than a parent might be given custody.
In order to file for custody for a child, there needs to be a custody hearing. In a custody hearing, the court will decide which parent, adult or state agency will care for the child. A parent who doesn't have custody might want to have the child for certain periods of visitation. The visitation rights can be detailed in the agreement with days and times specifically planned for. It can also be done in an informal way with the parents coming to an agreement as to who has the child when. This is often accomplished when the parents have an amicable relationship and want the other parent to be a part of the child's life.
When a couple decides to end a marriage, the Circuit Court of the state will deal with a child custody dispute whether it has to do with support or visitation rights. In the event that there is no divorce, but the couple can't come to a resolution as to the living arrangements and other issues, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court can help. When discussing the child custody dispute before this court, it's important to bring all the relevant information such as home and work addresses, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and other important details.
Child custody can be a troublesome issue between a couple, and if there is constant rancor between the parties, it can cause harm to the child. There are instances when there are dangerous circumstances that must be dealt with, so one parent wants to ensure the child's safety. Regardless of the situation, it is preferable to have a legal basis for the decision to prevent any future disagreements and best serve the child.
Source: fairfaxcounty.gov, "Custody," accessed Jan. 27, 2015