There is no law, or even preference that the mother should receive custody of a couple’s children in a divorce case.
Men have just as many rights in Virginia as mothers when it comes to child custody laws for fathers.
Best Interest of the Child
In Virginia, the best interests of the child are made the foremost priority in a child custody case and rulings are guided by Section 20-124.3 of the Code of Virginia.
It outlines what it considers to be the best interest of a child for purposes of determining custody or visitation arrangements.
Age and physical and mental condition of the child, and each parent
Relationship between each child and parent
Needs of each child
Roles of each parent in both the past and future
Propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and support with the other parent
Willingness and ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child
Reasonable preference of the child
History of family abuse
Other factors the court deems necessary and proper
Once the court has made it decision on child custody, its findings will be relayed regarding these factors based upon the facts supported by evidence.
Although no preference is made between mothers and fathers, child custody cases may lean in favor of the primary caregiver, which often is the maternal parent.
Child Custody Laws for Fathers in the Military
When a father is an active duty member of the U.S. military, there are specific rights available under the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act.
Child Custody Laws for Single Fathers
Unmarried fathers, or those who believe they have fathered a child should register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry in order to retain and protect their rights with their child.
Otherwise, there is no automatic presumption legally that you are the father and you will be required to go to court to seek visitation or custody. In addition, without confirmation of parenthood, your child cannot receive benefits from you as a father, such as inclusion on health care plans or inheritance rights.
Voluntary registration as a Putative Father should be done within 10 days of the child’s birth.
Common Mistakes Made by Fathers in Child Custody Cases
When negotiating child custody for fathers in Virginia, paternal parents should avoid these most common mistakes that can lead to devastating results.
Allowing the spouse or her attorney to bully you into an unfavorable agreement
Not understanding your rights as a father or the legal terminology
Acting in a way during proceedings that the court may find unfavorable
Using an unqualified attorney who may give faulty advice when it comes to family law in Virginia
Pond Law Group Helps Protect Your Paternal Rights
As a father, you want a strong legal team on your side – like Pond Law Group.
Please contact us if you have questions about child custody for fathers or wish to discuss your case.
As family law attorneys, we’ll be glad to help in any way we can including negotiating a child custody arrangement and visitation, or representing you in a court of law.