As a Virginia parent, you want to do everything possible to shield your child from the negative repercussions of divorce. One way to do this is to allow your kid to maintain strong relationships with both parents. Many families find it beneficial to do this with a joint custody agreement.
Your family's joint custody arrangement will depend on a number of factors. Every family is unique, and you should consider how the terms of your agreement could affect you and your child for years to come. Develop your custody plan according to what will actually work best for your unique situation and the individual needs of your child.
How joint custody works
Your family's joint custody plan will depend on your family's needs and objectives. In a true joint custody agreement, parents will equitably share parenting time and legal authority to make decisions for the children, but that may not be ideal in your situation. As you create a joint custody arrangement, you will have to consider the following types of custody:
- Legal custody is the right that a parent has to make important decisions on behalf of his or her child. This may pertain to matters related to education, religion and more.
- Physical custody is the time that a parent will have with his or her child, including weekend visitation, holidays and how the child will go back and forth between homes.
Parents can still have joint physical custody of their kid while one parent retains full legal custody and vice versa. Joint custody is usually very beneficial for children because it offers regular access to both parents, which in turn allows the child to maintain continuity of lifestyle and more. Even in a joint custody agreement, you will find it beneficial to take steps to protect your parental rights.
A plan that will work for years to come
When you go through the divorce process, consider how your choices will impact both you and your children for years to come. Instead of allowing your emotions to drive your decision-making, consider what will allow your child to have the most stability and allow you to have the strongest relationship with him or her.
As you draft a custody agreement or pursue fair terms to your final divorce order, you may find it helpful to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney who is committed to your rights and best interests.