Common Legal Questions About Virginia Divorce: Child Custody & Support

Common Legal Questions About Virginia Divorce: Child Custody & Support


Will a court split my children into two different households?

Answer:  The courts tend to avoid splitting siblings unless there is evidence that the split is in the children’s best interest.


Does Virginia presume that a mother is the best primary custodian of a child?

Answer: No, at this time there are no presumptions in the law regarding custody.  The Virginia courts used to examine cases with young children under the “tender years doctrine” that assumed young children were best cared for by their mother. Virginia courts no longer employ this doctrine.  Instead, the courts will make custody and visitation determinations based on the best interest of the child by considering specific statutory factors statutory factors (Va. Code § 20-124.3).  In fact, many Virginia family lawyers believe that the courts are becoming more protective of father’s custodial rights to ensure the children have access to both their parents.


My children’s father fails to pay Virginia child support, can I deny him visitation until he pays?

Answer: No.  Other remedies exist to get a non-paying party to comply with paying child support.  Withholding visitation is not one of these remedies.

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