Saturday, July 30, 2011

What kinds of custody are available in Virginia?

What kinds of custody are available in Virginia?

Custody is divided into two types: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody means the right to participate in major decisions affecting the child like educational, medical, and religious. Physical custody is the right to the child itself or what most people think of when they think of custody.
Primary physical custody is also called primary residence and primary care and is usually the parent the child resides mostly with. Virginia prefers that parents share joint legal custody with primary physical custody being in one parent or the other. However, if there are problems of abuse, drugs, or alcohol, joint legal custody will probably not work. Even if parents share joint legal and physical custody, it doesn’t mean they have equal 50-50 time with the child. Parents can share custody and design a schedule that works best for the child with or without it being 50-50.

A typical schedule provides time with the non-custodial parent every other weekend, usually Friday through Sunday, one night or evening during the week, shared or alternating holidays and the child’s birthday, and one or two weeks during the summer.

Shared custody can be week on, week off, alternating weekends with each parent having two days during the week, or 3 days on 4 days off then switch.

Child support is often paid even when there is 50-50 time with the child depending on the parents’ relative gross incomes. Gross income includes all income from every source for determination of child support.

If you can’t afford health insurance for your child, you should investigate Virginia’s FAMIS program. You can find information about FAMIS at:

Child support calculations are by the Virginia Guidelines. You can calculate your own using information found at:

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