Courts in Virginia are legally required to base decisions regarding custody and visitation on the best interests of the child. Virginia Code § 20-124.3 lists a number of factors that the judge should consider in deciding what is in the child’s best interests.
Types of Custody
Sole Custody - One parent has primary authority to make all major decisions affecting the child. The child lives primarily with this parent.
Joint Custody - In a joint custody arrangement, both parents assume responsibility for the child, and there are shared rights and responsibilities for making decisions that affect the child. Joint custody can include joint legal custody (joint authority to make decisions concerning the child), joint physical custody (where both parents share physical care of the child), or any combination that the court deems to be in the best interest of the child.