For most divorce cases in Virginia, a judge giving both parents an equal amount of time with their child is the best possible outcome. However, this isn’t the case in every situation. The judge might give one parent full custody if they believe that the other parent can’t handle the responsibility of raising a child.
What does the judge consider during a custody case?
When they make their decision, the judge wants to act in the child’s best interests. This isn’t always what the parents want. In fact, it might not even be what the child wants, but the court will make decisions to give them the best possible home. Here are some of the factors that the judge might consider during a family law case:
- The relationship that each parent has with the child
- The child’s relationship with their siblings and which parent they live with
- The physical and mental capabilities of each parent
- The child’s age and any developmental challenges they might have
- The level of interest that each parent has shown in their child’s upbringing
- The child’s preference if they’re old enough
- The financial situation of each parent
- The level of cooperation that each parent displays with the other
- The behaviors that both parents have displayed during the case
- The way each parent has treated the child, including any history of abuse
Your divorce attorney may tell you about other factors that the judge might consider during your case. The way you present yourself in court could also have an impact on the outcome.
Should you tell your child to speak up for you in court?
If your child is young, the judge might not invite your child to speak in court. If they’re old enough to speak for themselves, it’s important to avoid trying to persuade or influence the child in any way. You might compromise your case if the judge suspects that you told your child to make a statement. Your attorney may offer guidance about how to present your case in court for the best possible outcome.