Child Custody—There are two types of child custody:
Legal Custody is the legal right to make major decisions concerning the lives of children, such as education, religious upbringing, and complex medical care. Legal custody may be Sole, where the decision-making remains with one parent, or Joint, with both parties having equal responsibility for making major decisions.
Physical Custody refers to where the children live. Primary physical custody means children live most of the time with one parent and have visitation with the other parent. Joint physical custody occurs when children spend significant amounts of time with each parent.
Parents may decide to have joint legal custody regardless of whether one parent has primary physical custody or the parents share joint physical custody.
Visitation refers to the times and circumstances under which the children are in the care of the parent who does not have physical custody of them. MCC mediators help parents construct co-parenting plans for all situations where children are spending time with both parents, irrespective of the amounts of time with each. See our page on Visitation: Factors To Consider
Child Support is the amount of money that parents must provide to support their children. In Virginia, both parents are legally required to support their children. The State has adopted Child Support Guidelines which are used to calculate the amount of basic child support.
The calculation takes into consideration (and the parties must provide information on):
- Each parent’s gross monthly income, from all sources
- The number of children to be supported under the current order
- Children being supported through other Child Support Orders
- Other children in the household not covered by the current order
- Health insurance costs for the children
- Work-related daycare costs
- Amounts of spousal support being paid by either of the parties. Note that spousal support is added to the income of the recipient and deducted from the income of the payer.
- The amount of time the children spend with each parent.
The Child Support Guidelines provide for the calculation of child support in three different situations:
- Sole Custody where one parent has the children for fewer than 90 days in a year (defined by overnights).
- Shared Custody where each parent has the children for more than 90 days in a year (defined by overnights).
- Split Custody where each parent has custody of one or more of the children.
Click here to use the Virginia Child Support Calculator
Click here for the Separation/Divorce Checklist
Visit our page on Co-Parenting