Types of Child Custody in Virginia

Who will receive primary custody of your children after your divorce? This question and questions like it are far from academic. It is difficult to eat, sleep, or even think straight until you know where your children are going to reside.

Virginia does not automatically favor either the mother or father. It does, however, recognize several types of custody, including:

Physical Custody

There are different types of physical custody: shared, sole, and split. The term “shared physical custody” is used when calculating child support. If a parent has visitation more than 90 days during a year. Shared physical custody can mean week on, week off, a few days with mom, then a few days with dad, or some other schedule which produces a situation where both parents have more than 90 days during the year. Sole physical custody is when the visiting parent has the child 90 days or less during the year. Split custody is when one parent has one child most of the time, and the other parent has the other child (or children) most of the time. Sole Custody is when one person has both legal and physical custody of the child, and the child has one primary residence. A person with legal custody has the right to make long-range plans, such as decisions about education, religious training, discipline, and non-emergency medical care. A person with physical custody lives with the child and has the right to make decisions regarding everyday care of the child.

Legal Custody

There are different types of legal custody: sole legal custody and joint legal custody. In a situation where one parent has sole legal custody, that parent has the final say on decisions regarding the child, such as medical decisions, education, discipline, extra-curricular activities, etc. When the parents share joint legal custody, they have to discuss the aforementioned matters with one another and try to come to an agreement regarding how those issues will be handled in relation to the child.

The family law attorneys at Select Law Partners have a wealth of experience protecting the rights of parents and children in child custody cases. Call us at (540) 656-2210 for a strategic consultation.


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Matt Kurylo

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