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Child custody in the state of Virginia

Separation can be difficult for the children involved. Estranged spouses often become embroiled in a bitter dispute as a result of the emotional turmoil caused by the separation. However, child custody issues can become a major source of conflict in bitter divorce battles. Child custody issues for unmarried parents can become even more cumbersome.

In some cases, the physical custody of a minor child can be awarded to one parent alone, a decision that is often based on preexisting family situations. The legal custody of a minor child, on the other hand, is often awarded to both biological parents. Legal custody allows a parent to have the right to make decisions regarding his or her child about important issues like education, health and religion. Joint custody also can be ordered by a court. In this situation, both parents have physical custody of the child, in that child lives with both parents for a specified number of days. For this arrangement to work, both parents need to cooperate and work together.

Split custody is another form of child custody arrangement, which may be used if there is more than one child. In this case, however, the children essentially get separated. One parent gets the custody of at least one child, while the other parent gets custody of another child. The courts, however, have to judge each case individually in order to determine whether the best interest of the child includes being separated from his or her siblings.

For unmarried parents, a child custody battle can become an uphill struggle. In most states, the father needs to establish paternity in order to have any rights with his biological child and the mother still may get sole custody in many cases. However, fathers' rights advocates have been vigilant about establishing custodial rights for the father, as well, depending on the circumstances.

Source: For information on child custody in Virginia, please visit our family law website.

Source: For information on child custody in Virginia, please visit our family law website.

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