Family courts in Virginia want to ensure that a child stays in a safe and healthy home after the parents divorce or separate. Child custody and visitation hearings will review many aspects of the parents’ home lives and financial situations before making any determinations. Parents should take steps to familiarize themselves with the various things the courts will examine.
The courts perform a thorough review
The courts won’t overlook much when overseeing child custody and visitation hearings. Fundamental elements come under close inspection, such as a parent’s financial situation and overall fitness as a parent. An unemployed, financially struggling parent may be able to overcome their challenges soon. However, an abusive parent or one dealing with substance abuse issues may be unfit to care for the child. The court might feel that a troubled parent should only see the child during supervised visitation sessions.
The court may also look carefully at the child’s mental and physical condition. The court will likely have questions regarding how the parents intend to care for the child’s unique needs.
Looking carefully at the home situation
The court would want to know about the relationship between parent and child. Has the parent remained in contact with the child, or has the parent been absent? Does the parent financially support the child? The courts might have serious concerns about an absentee parent.
In addition, a stressful home situation might be unhelpful to the child. Are all the parties getting along, or do they fight and argue? Can parents settle their problems without harming the child’s development?
The child may have personal wishes concerning which parent he or she would prefer to live with. The court might review the child’s competency to make such a decision based on age and other factors.