The court must consider the age and physical and mental condition of the child and the child's developmental needs.
The court must consider the age and physical and mental condition of each parent.
Parental Relationship With Child
The court must consider the relationship between each parent and the child, the parents' positive involvement and ability to assess and meet the child's needs.
Relationship With Family Members
The court must consider the child's needs, including relationships such as with brothers and sisters, grandparents and other relatives. This becomes an important consideration if a custody decision would involve relocation away from extended family.
The court must consider the role which each parent has played and will play in the upbringing of the child. The primary caregiver during the marriage has the advantage.
The court must consider each parent's willingness to support the child's relationship with the other parent, their willingness and ability to maintain a close relationship with the child and their ability to cooperate in matters affecting the child.
The court must consider the reasonable preference of the child. In Virginia, there is no set age, where the preference is considered. The judge looks to the maturity of the child and the reasons for the preference.
History of Abuse
The court must consider any history of family abuse.
Additional resources provided by the author
Mary Commander is a certified Guardian Ad Litem for children and has represented families in child custody cases for 30 years.