When considering custody in Fairfax, it is helpful to know the difference between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Often, even when both parties may have a lot of time with the child or children, there is an assignment of a primary household. The other term often used for that is primary physical custody. Legal custody refers to making important decisions related to a child. Those decisions can include major medical decisions, education decisions, travel decisions, etc. Talk to a professional child custody lawyer today to learn more.
Legal Custody in Fairfax
Legal custody is the assignment of who gets to make major decisions relating to the children. These legal decisions are often associated with medical decisions, but they can also be related to decisions such as allowing a child to get married prior to their 18th birthday or allowing a child to participate in an overseas trip with their class. Those kinds of decisions can be made by the person or persons who have legal custody.
It is the responsibility of the parent with legal custody or the parents with legal custody to put the best interests of the child first in making any major decisions.
Factors Awarding Legal Custody in Fairfax
Courts look at the statutory factors to award legal custody in Fairfax. One of these factors is the ability of each parent to really assess the needs of the children. In some cases, it is clear that one parent has a much better idea of what is best for the kids, and that could impact a judge’s decision related to legal custody.
The other main issue with courts considering legal custody is how well the parties communicate with each other. If judges are faced with parents who do not communicate or communicate violently, the court is more likely to award sole legally custody to one parent.
If two parents cannot work together, it is going to be detrimental to the children if they have joint legal custody. While there are many factors to be considered, the most important is the ability of each parent to assess the needs of the children and the level of communication and cooperation that exists between the parties.
Age of Legal Custody
Physical custody and legal custody in Fairfax ends when the child turns 18. If an 18-year-old lacks capacity for health reasons to make their own decisions, then the parents might have the ability to have someone appointed as a guardian or power of attorney.
Avoiding a Volatile Custody Battle
It can be useful before discussing a separation with children to seek the advice of mental health professionals. Different children require different ways to talk to them about the divorce. A mental health expert can give input as to how that conversation should happen and assist the entire family at the outset. In addition, it is important for both parties to remember to not to act aggressively toward the other parent or say negative things about the other parent because these things can not only be damaging to children, but they can also be used against the angry party in the context of a custody trial.