The best interest of the children in divorce is something that is determined based on specific factors set forth by the Virginia legislature. The factors that are set out in the statute are the ones that the court is required to consider. However, the court is not required to indicate how much weight has been given to any one factor so long as all factors are considered. As such, it is important for people to consult with a Fairfax divorce lawyer to ensure they know what is considered when deciding the best interest of the children, as well as the two divorcing parties.
Factors Considered in Determination
Those factors include consideration of the age, the physical and mental condition of the child including consideration of the child’s changing needs, their age, the physical and mental health of each parent, the role that each parent has played and will continue to play in the future taking care of the child. They will also consider the needs of a child, giving consideration to important relationships in the child’s life, such as with extended family members and friends, and any history of family abuse in the home.
Sometimes parents want the court to consider factors relating to their convenience. If those convenience-related factors do not impact the children, the court is not going to consider them in making a decision on a custodial schedule.
Often times when there has been a fault base divorce, the victimized spouse wants the court to consider the fault basis in determining a custodial schedule. Often times, this request is made when one spouse has been unfaithful to the other. Courts do not consider infidelity in determining a custodial schedule for the children unless the infidelity directly impacts the children.
For example, if a wife cheated on her husband and brought the children around with the person she was cheating with and involved that person in that children’s life then the court might consider it. But as long as the children have kept separate from the infidelity, it is not going to impact the custodial schedule that the court makes.
Uses of Determination
Determining the best interest for children in Fairfax is important because it is the guiding factor for all custody and visitation related decisions of a divorce court. That will include a decision on legal custody, a decision on physical custody, and a decision on visitation schedules.
It can also be considered in other things related to custody such as if the court has to make a determination about something related to school or some sort of medical need of the child’s best interest will be the guiding principle for the judge in making that decision.
Working with a Family Attorney
A divorce lawyer is going to be familiar with the factors that the court is supposed to consider, including sometimes which factor seems to be more important to the court and which seems to be less important to the court. A lawyer can also assist a person in aligning the facts that might exist in their case with these factors that the court is going to consider in order to make a strong case for custody.