Getting a separation from your significant others is not an easy task, there is a lot to be considered and decided before getting back into the real life such as dividing the property mutually, changing your last name or changing the residential address. But when you are not just separating as a couple but as a parent of one or more child, the major area of concern becomes the custody of your children. While everyone dealing in the child custody case focuses on providing the best custody arranging for the children but the perception of children might differ from the parents in this regards. Therefore, many of the states account for the children’s preferences before dictating the final decision of the custody case.
However, each state has a different point of view related to considering the children’s preferences as the fact that children are minor and may not be in a good state to take a practical decision which is best for their future. Hence, the article will specifically focus on the custodial cases in Virginia and will address the question of how and when can a child’s preference impact the custodial decisions in Virginia.
Basis of Custody Decisions in Virginia
Like every state, Virginia has its own determinants of custody cases using which the courts choose to be the best for the parents who are separating and cannot come up to a mutual parenting plan of their own. Following points are considered before giving out the final decision:
- Child’s Age
- Child’s Physical Condition
- Child’s mental health
- Child’s relationship with each Parent
- Child’s needs including the need for siblings, and family members
- Child’s Preferences based on their age
- Parent’s age
- Parent’s mental and physical health
- Parent’s role in upbringing of the child
- Parent’s willingness to support the relationship of child with other parent
- Parent’s relationship at home, including the domestic abuse or sexual abuse.
Which scenarios will impact the child’s preference most?
Child’s preferences are normally accounted by the judges in Virginia court if the child is intelligent and old enough to express a reasonable reason for choosing a specific parent. However, the court has not concluded any specific age of the child to restrict the child preference but it solely depends on the judges to account the child’s preferences in such cases. Although, one court stated that a child under 7 is too young to back his preferences with reasonable arguments, while a 12 years old child is mature enough to support his/her preferences. Whereas another court claimed that an eight-year-old girl is mature enough to support her preferences, yet there is no particular age mentioned specifically in the laws of Virginia. Though The judges in Virginia consider child preferences. There are many other determinants acknowledging the child’s preferences such as the privileges offered by parents. Yet, children preferences alone cannot change the judge’s decision of custodial case as the main aim of the judge is to decide the case in the best interest of the child.