Moving is a major event in the life of a child. It is even more complicated when the child’s parents are divorced.
Although military families are often accustomed to being on the move, divorce might change that dynamic. Understanding Virginia family law regarding custody could help parents plan for foreseeable moves.
Virginia custody laws
The key concepts in custody in the Commonwealth are custody and visitation. Parents and the courts work together to decide who gets physical custody of the children, and on what schedule; who gets to make important decisions; and how parents visit with the children.
Moving out of state could disrupt a custody agreement. For example, it could impair a non-custodial parent’s ability to exercise visitation rights.
Before or during divorce
Many military families decide to talk about the potential for moving far away before the fact. This means including some specifics in the parenting plan. Examples could include:
- Agreements for living both nearby and far apart
- Contingencies for foreign deployment
- Compromises for events or holidays
The details would depend on the family and the situation. For example, a family in which the non-custodial parent was a military service member likely to move away would have a different plan than a family with two military parents.
After the courts finalize the divorce
In some cases, unforeseen changes in circumstances might require a modification of a divorce agreement. The courts might allow a review to serve the best interests of the children.
Modifications require parents to file petitions with the court. They are not always as contentious as divorces, but there is potential for disagreement. Therefore, parents in a position to plan ahead and avoid future conflict typically do so.