August 18, 2020
Legal custody is your right to make major decisions for your child. The decisions usually covered under the umbrella of custody include big life choices for your child such as religion, education, and healthcare choices. With legal custody over your children, you can make choices that have a big impact on their future.
Virginia law dictates that courts should assure, where appropriate, that both parents maintain contact with their children and play an active role in raising them. This means the courts will always favor a joint legal custody arrangement. Legal custody is shared between both parents so they can both raise their children.
However, every situation is unique and not every parent can have full custody over their children. In rare instances, the court will recommend sole custody for one of the parents.
To acquire sole custody in Virginia, your family lawyer needs to persuade the court that the other parent is unable to care for the child or poses a risk to them.
If you are at the point where you think that this step is necessary, it could be helpful to know what your rights are if you do have sole custody.
Differences in Types of Custody
As we’ve covered in a previous article about how custody is determined, there is a difference between legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody is a parent’s ability to make important decisions for a minor. These include educational matters, medical issues, and the general welfare of the child.
Physical custody determines where the child primarily lives and how often a parent gets to spend time with them.
My Rights with Sole Legal Custody
If you have sole legal custody over your children, you can make all major decisions about them without consulting the other parent.
Sole legal custody may be right for your situation if:
- Sole legal custody benefits the child
- The other parent is unfit to make legal decisions about your child
- It’s more practical for only one of the parents to make decisions for the child
With sole legal custody, you have the decision-making rights for your child. You’ll get to decide who sees the child. You also make decisions about visitation rights for the other parent where you decide the length of time the other parent can spend with your children. You can enroll your child in a school of your choosing and take them for medical treatment where you choose.
Start the Conversation
For additional details about your rights when you have full custody, talk to a family lawyer in Virginia. Cravens & Noll is available by phone at 804-208-0934 to set up an appointment when you can discuss your situation further.