Support

Legal Review: Changes to Virginia Child Custody Statute Encourage Joint Custody in Divorce Cases

By Petersburg criminal defense attorney Nicholas Braswell with Price Benowitz, LLP.

One of the most challenging aspects of any divorce is determining custody arrangements for minor children.

Courts are tasked with weighing the best interests of the child or children and issuing an order that outlines the custodial agreement that the parents are to abide by.

Virginia law had previously done little to encourage courts to consider joint custody of children. However, the findings of numerous research projects have concluded that the benefits of some form of shared custody have serious impacts on the overall health and well-being of children.

With this research in mind, Virginia legislators passed, and the Governor signed, a bill that changed the language of the child custody statute to remove any requirement that the court give one type of custody preference over any other, and to require courts to seriously examine the possibility of joint custody as well as sole custody.

“This change to the statute gives the courts more guidance in when it should consider joint custody,” said Nicholas Braswell, a Virginia domestic abuse attorney with Price Benowitz, LLP.

What the law also does is leave in place existing provisions that allow the court to consider a parent’s history of domestic violence or other abuse. Specifically, in situations where one parent has been convicted of a crime involving, among other things, domestic violence or sexual abuse of a child, that parent can be stopped from filing any petitions to alter the custody arrangement for the child for up to ten years, if the court decides that such a limitation is in the best interests of the child.

More than 20 states are currently considering adding or have added laws to their books that encourage this type of co-parenting. As the body of research indicating the advantages children raised by two parents receive due to that consistent parental involvement grows, so too will pressure on state legislatures to adopt laws like these.

Recent Stories

A warrant has been issued for a suspect who beat a victim with a spatula, causing a significant injury. The incident happened the afternoon before Thanksgiving, around 3:30 p.m., on…

Rosa Mexicano at Pentagon City is now planning to open week.

The carjacking and pursuit we reported yesterday was far from the only car theft in Arlington over the long Thanksgiving holiday. It was a busy few days for police, who handled…

Morning Notes

Road Closures for 5K in Pentagon City — “The Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k Run will be held Saturday, December 3, 2022. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the…

Join us at Art House 7 this Saturday 4-7pm for our Annual Open House – Teacher and Student art show!

  • Meet our teachers

  • See student and teacher artwork

  • Teacher’s paintings, ceramics, notecards will be for sale

  • Enjoy beverages and light refreshments

  • All attendees get a $20 gift certificate off a class

  • 30% off everything in our Supply Store for holiday gifts

Sat. Dec. 3, 4-7pm

Art House 7

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Alternative Christmas Market is back! At First Presbyterian Church Arlington in Ballston, located at 601 N. Vermont Street, Arlington VA 22203, on Sunday, December 4th from 9:30am to 1:00pm. Parking available.

Vendors and products this year include: 10,000 Villages, Olive Oil Ministry, African Team Ministries, Community Coalition for Haiti, Heifer, African Market Baskets, Café Justo, Thistle Farms, Southwest Indian Foundation, and Together We Bake.

Buy gifts for everyone on your list, and support these great organizations, artisans, and global neighbors. See you there!

Submit your own Announcement here.

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist

Washington-Liberty Annual Holiday Bazaar

Join us Saturday December 3 from 10 to 4 p.m. at W-L High School, for this much anticipated Arlington holiday tradition! We will be featuring over 65 vendors for gift shopping, our student clubs and activities fundraising booths, and food

×

Subscribe to our mailing list