When a couple decides that they are going to get divorced it can be an emotional time. If the couple shares children, a new custody arrangement will need to be worked out. In Virginia, the state allows courts to determine what is the best interests of the children. There are many considerations judges can take into effect to determine a child’s best interest.

Child’s best interest factors

While separating parents may have certain wishes regarding custody, it is ultimately the court that decides what custody arrangement is best suited for a child. Some of the factors the courts may look at to determine the child’s best interest include the following:

  • Children’s and parent’s age, mental condition, and physical condition.
  • Relationship between each parent and child, considering the parent’s involvement in the children’s life and the ability to meet the child’s emotional, intellectual and physical needs.
  • Needs of the child to maintain relationships with siblings, peers, and extended family members.
  • Role each parent plays in the future upbringing of the child
  • Willingness of the parent to maintain a close relationship with the child.
  • Any history of family abuse.
  • Reasonable preference of the child.

Contacting an attorney

A person who is going through a divorce and has questions regarding child custody may want to speak with a legal professional who is skilled in child custody. An attorney can help their client understand what their options are and how they can help. In addition, the attorney may also be able to keep at bay certain conflicts that  may arise between the parents at the time or divorce owing to the experience that the attorney has in dealing with family law matters.